Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jesus Pixel Art

Pixels are the smallest bits that your computer screen is composed of. Nowadays the pixels on your screen are numerous, but in the olden days it was usually limited to something like 256x240 pixels because of 8 bit limitations. If the largest variables you can assign values to are 8 bits big, that gives you a range of 0 to 255, so your screen isn't going to be wider than 256 pixels. Which is not a lot. 8 bit art or pixel art therefore refers to art that is very rough. It was indeed an art to make illustrations still recognizable and believable when you're working with small resolutions, but into an art it was turned indeed. Only after about 1992 did people start to appreciate this type of art for it's aesthetics rather than for it's practical dimensions. The appreciation is probably in part based on the fact that with so very little you can still make an illustration come alive. New artists in the era where a creative approach to the 8 bit limitations was no longer a necessity seem to have been still inspired by that creativity and set out to make art in that style.
        Under every rock will you find Jesus and the pixel rock is no exception. People seem to have applied the 8 bit style to depict Jesus and all his crazy friends. One artist that made the art work for the cover of the 8-Bit Jesus Christmas album is Jude Buffum. This guy seems to be actually a very talented artist, with a feel for themes as well as being able to get them right. The scenes he depicted from late 1990s movie Big Lebowski really looks like still shots from a 1980s Nintendo NES video game. The Christmas album itself, by the way, might deserve a story of its own. More on that later. I also have to mention the game Run, Jesus Run! by Molleindustria, 2010, which some of these still shots are taken from. I actually realize now (after playing it a million times) that they used Sonseed's Jesus is a Friend of Mine song as the (8 bittified) theme! There seems to be a nice 8 bit rendition of Jesus as a T-Shirt design by the company spreadshirt. That, in turn, someone seems to have used as a design for a tattoo.

By the way, this is a three pixel jesus in that last one! I don't think I'll ever find a more minimalist depiction.

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