Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shawn Smith

I was trying to explain the idea of pixelated video game graphics to one of my friend's young sons recently and he was simply not getting the idea. I told him about Galaga and Asteroids (the kinds of games I played when about his age) and he still didn't understand the idea of pixelation. That's when I realized, he's never had to look at things that way. Graphics today are so good that things simply don't appear pixelated. So many of the games these days are good enough to be movies. I'm constantly amazed at how good some games look. But part of me still misses the days of BurgerTime and Pitfall, where my character was normally a couple differently colored pixels joined together.

In the spirit of that type of nostalgia, I wanted to share Shawn Smith, my artist du jour. Shawn uses wood (often plywood) which is cut up into small mostly uniform pieces. Those are then hand dyed and arranged into sculpture created a real-life pixelated image. Shawn says in his artist statement that he's interested in the intersection between nature and the digital world, how we view the world through the pixels of our TVs and don't realize that we're only seeing a depiction.

I found Shawn through Neatorama and have become fascinated with both his art and the statements his art seems to make. Like the one below with the vulture eating the typewriter. Here are pixelated creatures (new technology and nature) destroying an old technology.

Shawn's artwork has been displayed in museums across the country and he has certainly found an audience with his "re-things", the name he gives to his reconstructed creatures. The idea of using pixels to create sculptures fascinated me. I'm always interested in any artist using an unusual medium and this certainly qualifies. See more of Shawn's work at the website above. Inventive art using nature as the subject. I'm in heaven.


Salt said...

When I first saw this, I thought they were Legos.

Some Lego piece-art is pretty neato, also.

Cat B said...

Sorry, not Legos. I'll have to look around for some cool lego art to post for you. There is some very good art being done with them.