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Animator Simon Cottee has created a very cool video documentary, called Pixel, about the pixel art phenomenon and posted it on YouTube.

In the video, Cottee interviews notable pixel artists like the creator of the brilliant art-house video game Passage and mixes those interviews with glimpses of some gorgeous works in the currently-niche-but-growing movement.

pixel art

The practitioners of pixel art turn the digital art clock back 20 years by electing to use only a palette of colored pixels — the same limitations that technology imposed on early digital artists who made (among other things) 8-bit and 16-bit video games in the ’80s and ’90s. Pretty much the essence of retro coolness.

The movement has a cousin in a musical genre called chiptunes, whose musicians employ the same chip boards that are used to synthesize sounds on video game consoles to make music. Both the pixel art and chiptunes movements rely strongly on nostalgia, but while that reliance could be the basis for unfavorable criticism, Pixel points out that childhood nostalgia has played a part in the works of many respected traditional artists.

The documentary also shows that artistic movements that favor a medium or aesthetic’s most basic elements have popped up time and time again, so pixel art is not unprecedented.

Check out the documentary video below:

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