Open your third eye with Paul Robertson
This post is also available in: Italiano
Paul Robertson certainly stands out among the most talented visual artists to have chosen pixel art as their expressive medium.
Australian, free-spirited, perhaps a bit hippie and naif, he stands out for the psychedelic touch that permeates all his gifs: trip colors, post-hallucinogenic eyes and fanfares that have nothing to envy to the Paprika Parade, movie of another slightly alien genius, Satoshi Kon.
A recurring thing are the characters in Robertson’s animated gifs and gigantic illustrations: often popular video game or cartoon characters, as in the case of Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why’d You Steal Our Garbage? o Fight Fighters, an animated gif created specifically for Gravity Falls.
All the illustrations and animations are obviously in pixel art, which is why we treat them here. However, you should notice how the refinement of the lines and the use of a cell-shading with fluorescent colors and very little resemblance to our reality, almost conceal the single pixels, dosed with a truly unique mastery.
In fact Paul Robertson, for those who have followed his work for years, is certainly not a stranger.
Whether it’s an assemblage of well-known characters or original characters, it’s pretty easy to notice a recurrence in Robertson’s work. A feature that makes, together with the well-personalized use of colors and lights, his production immediately recognizable even in absence of a signature.
These are the constant references to a state of spiritual elevation with which he constitues his works, with elements typical of the galaxy, to meditation. All elements to reach higher states of consciousness.
Mystical and kabbalistic elements such as numbers, particular symbols and manneristic expressions or gestures dot the artist’s work. Thick inserted in ascending pyramidal compositions. As if it were a repressed subconscious, through the extreme ease of communication of pop characters like Rick & Morty, these gestures are included and perhaps unconsciously enclosed, like the Renaissance portraitist who always places some features of his face in those of others.
Third eyes in the middle of the forehead, pyramids and mystical numbers. Incredible how much symbolism is encountered in a few centimeters of image.
Using a veeery illustrative / Tumblr style, this higher dimension that Robertson transports us to is perhaps a kind of meta-language, with which he talks about his own way of making art, his own style. Talking with cubes and pixels about the metaphorical dissolving of man into small parts.
The pixels are therefore not only the first unit, the module of the drawing, but the very module of the living creatures that dot these super colored mental landscapes. And there doesn’t seem to be an escape route. The disordered fanfares show bewildered expressions, frowning and perplexed faces; the children sitting disconsolately on a ravine cannot help but watch their own self-destruction helplessly. Under their eyes, shreds of pixelated flesh, without even the need for a second level of pixelation, censorship, are lost in a vortex of which we will not be able and will never be able to see the bottom. Because it’s just an endless loop, a digital hellish repeat they’re trapped in.
Robertson’s stylistic cipher is therefore overcrowding, this vacuous horror of somewhat cartoonish figures, who rather unwittingly inhabit and fill digital worlds to the point of collapse. Real cyberspaces halfway between ours and another world.
In some illustrations you can see the lack of sky, of atmosphere. To replace them, a set of data that mimics a real canopy for those who live inside it, but visible to creatures outside. A sort of digital arena of which some information can be glimpsed.