Atari vs. Seurat: 8-Bit Masterpieces

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - 08:00 AM

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte (Adam Lister) A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte (Adam Lister)

Adam Lister is taking the blocky graphic style you remember from your old Atari 2600 and giving it a face lift, using watercolors.

The painter uses a vernacular based on primitive 8-bit computer graphics — the tiny squares of color that brought us Space Invaders and many an ill-fated Frogger. Those squares become portraits of 70s and 80s television icons, like Wonder Woman and Bob Ross. Lister's interpretations of Klimt’s The Kiss and Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte reinvent scenes we’ve been looking at our whole lives. Given that La Grande Jatte was painted with dots, this remix reads like an homage to the inventor of pixelation.

And yet no part of Lister’s painting process is digital. The images aren’t scanned and manipulated; they are only inspired by 8-bit’s limitations. The use of watercolor softens the sharp edges. Today we can barely distinguish CGI from reality; Lister’s paintings wax nostalgic for a time when the digital world was fresh, new, and seemingly innocent. 

You can see more of Adam Lister’s work here.

HT Colossal.

Bob Ross (Adam Lister)
Adam Lister
Adam Lister reimagines pop culture figures and works of fine art through an 8-bit-inspired lens.

Bob Ross

Wonder Woman (Adam Lister)

Wonder Woman

The Kiss (Adam Lister)

The Kiss

The Starry Night (Adam Lister)

The Starry Night

Mona Lisa (Adam Lister)

Mona Lisa

Nighthawks (Adam Lister)

Nighthawks

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