Pixel Perfect

A close-up of Corporations

Pixel art was never exactly meant to be a style of its own. It originated as a byproduct of technological limitations, a way for game developers to create believable graphics within the constraints of available computing resources in the ’80s and ’90s. As processing power became faster and cheaper, the style fell out of favor.

In recent years, however, pixel art has made a comeback, becoming a stylistic choice for many indie game publishers and giving rise to gems like CelesteEnter the Gungeon, and Hyper Light Drifter.

The last of which in particular has been a major source of inspiration for 19-year-old Singaporean pixel art enthusiast Kenze Wee Hon Ming. Aside from being impressed by the game’s immaculate art direction, its dialogue-free approach to storytelling opened the young artist’s eyes to the different ways a narrative can be shown.


像素艺术并不是从一开始就自成一格,它是一种因应技术限制而生的副产品,是游戏开发者在 80、90 年代资源的约束下,创建图像的一种应变方式。随着电脑处理能力变得更快速、便宜,这种风格便被淘汰了。

然而,近年来像素艺术卷土重来,成为许多独立游戏发行商的选择,产生了许多顺应此潮流的杰作,例如《蔚蓝》(Celeste)、《挺进地牢》(Enter the Gungeon)和《光明旅者》(Hyper Light Drifter)。

上述提到的光明旅者,特别是来自新加坡的像素艺术爱好者 Kenze Wee Hon Ming 的主要灵感来源。这位年仅 19 岁的艺术家除了受这款游戏无懈可击的艺术表现吸引之外,其零对话的故事推进方式,也大大革新了他的叙事思维。

Sentinel
Tranquility

Today, Wee creates pixel art creations with a similar approach, often relying on color and motion to convey mood and information. His clever use of movement on otherwise static images—often showing elements like clouds, trains, and spacecrafts exiting and returning into the looped GIF—seems to tease at a breathing, sprawling universe that exists beyond the frame.

His pixel animations depict visions of a utopian or dystopian future: a world with neon-lit skylines plastered in undecipherable holographic ads, lone protagonists traversing vast and mysterious landscapes, and arachnoid mechas outfitted with state-of-the-art weaponry. Much like well-designed video games, Wee’s sci-fi animations have an immersive quality to them.


如今, Kenze 以类似的方式来创作。他通常仰赖颜色和动态图像来传达情绪和信息,巧妙地利用 GIF 和充斥其中的元素,比如说云、火车或太空船不断离开又重回画面中,仿佛在景框之外也存在着另一个庞大的宇宙。

而他的像素动画描绘的是充满乌托邦/反乌托邦色彩的未来愿景:一个霓虹灯点亮的天际线被难以辨认的全息广告所占满的世界、孤独的主角只身穿越广阔的神秘风景、装备着最先进武器的节肢动物。就像精心设计的视频游戏一样,Kenze 的动画为这些科幻角色创造了一个让人身历其境的世界。

Neon
Pilgrimage
Scavengers

While the resurgence of pixel art in modern games reaffirmed Wee’s love for its aesthetics, that’s not what drew him to the medium.

A few years earlier, while searching for creative inspiration, Wee discovered Gerardo Quiroz and Valeriya Sanchillo, artists whose intricate pixel art creations instilled in him a sense of awe and wonder. He was amazed by how such a dated, bare-bones form of digital art could produce images that were, paradoxically, “so simple yet detailed at the same time.”

Even though simplicity is a large part of pixel art’s appeal, creating an engaging piece of pixel art is anything but easy. Each of Wee’s creations requires hours of focus and precision. Every pixel is placed with purpose; even minor misplacements of a few pixels can have a drastic effect on the final image.


虽然说 Kenze 正好见证了像素艺术的复兴,但是此种美学的再次流行并不是吸引他的原因。

几年前在寻找创作灵感的同时,Kenze 发现了 Gerardo Quiroz 和 Valeriya Sanchillo,这些艺术家的复杂像素作品让他为之惊叹。这种过时、简陋的数字艺术形式竟然能同时涵盖两种极端的特质——创造出既简单又丰富的图像。

尽管简单是像素艺术的一大亮点,但要创造出引人入胜的像素艺术作品绝非易事。Kenze 的每一件作品都需要数小时的全神专注和精细工作。每一个像素都是有目的地放置,即使是少量的轻微错位也会对最终图像产生巨大的影响。

Ramen
The making of Ramen
Corporations
The making of Corporations

Despite Wee’s meticulous efforts, there’s only so much definition that can be rendered with pixels. This isn’t exactly a disadvantage, though—in fact, it’s exactly these limitations that have kept the retro aesthetic so captivating even after all these years. These constraints are also what lends Wee’s work its je ne sais quoi. This art style asks the audience to look past the medium’s shortcomings and apply a bit of their own creativity. In doing so, the viewers become more than just spectators—they become participants whose own imaginations are tasked with filling in the remaining details.


尽管 Kenze 在像素艺术中投注大量心力,但它的发挥之处毕竟有限。这并不是一个缺点,事实上正是这些限制,使得这种复古的美学在多年之后依然如此迷人,也赋予了 Kenze 的艺术一种难以言喻的魅力。这种艺术风格希望观众超越媒介的局限和发挥一点创造力。观众不再只是观众,而是参与者,必须善用自己的想像来填补剩余的细节。

Behance: ~/KenzeWeeHonMing
Instagram: @emperor_wee
Twitter: @seppuku_doge
Dribbble~/Kenze_Wee

 

Contributor: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Yang Yixuan


Behance: ~/KenzeWeeHonMing
Instagram: @emperor_wee
Twitter: @seppuku_doge
Dribbble~/Kenze_Wee

 

供稿人: David Yen
英译中: Yang Yixuan