There was a time when print media and pixel art were like peanut butter and jelly. Before the advent of polygon-based graphics and online storefronts, nearly every game was made from chunky grids of color, and at retail, every game came with a printed instruction manual showing how to play it.
Flash forward to 2023, and the bulk of the world’s biggest games are molded from three-dimensional shapes and are downloaded directly to hard drives. The mosaic beauty of dot art, and the tactile experience of turning a page in a book about that art, have both become niche enterprises.
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in games over the years, it’s that even the tiniest niches can find ways to thrive. Believe it or not, even the mighty Minecraft was once a humble indie game only known to industry enthusiasts and insiders. And it’s possible that Waneella, who contributed environmental art to games like River City Girls and Pocket Rumble, could break through in a similar way. She may not have her stuff sold in the toy section of Target any time soon, but I could see her work blowing up in the fine art world in the years to come.
Decade is a new book from talented pixel artist Waneela
A case in point is her current collaboration with Darren Wall (Read-only Memory, A Profound Waste of Time) on “Decade,” an artbook that collects ten years of her still pictures. Initially inspired by the pixel art of Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery EP, Waneella has since grown in popularity as an independent creator. Her compositions translate great to glowing screens, but bringing them to books makes even more sense. It’s easy to picture people from all walks of life cozying up to a warm mug of the drink of their choice, cracking open her book, and being transported to places that sit somewhere between games and the real world, dreams, and reality.
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