Take a photograph of your girlfriend or boyfriend, wife or husband or lover. Now, pixelate it — run it through an image processor on a computer. They dissolve into art when pixelized, don’t they? Into squares and abstract images of themselves. What does it all mean? Who can even answer these questions?
Below are ten all-new covers for famous novels, all rendered in pixelated form (building off the great work of artists at Make Pixel Art), as the makers of video games in 1983 might have rendered them. This combines my love of literature with my love of old video games, which I’ve explored here before. Enjoy.
Artist’s note: I selected the novels above, not as a list of the Greatest Novels of All Time, or as a list of My Favorite Novels of All Time, but because they were (mostly) books that I love whose covers I knew how to illustrate. Full confession: I have not read An American Tragedy, and I think that Theodore Dreiser is a boring writer. I just liked the title. And I started reading Moby-Dick (“Call me Ishmael”) and Gravity’s Rainbow (“A screaming comes across the sky”) but I did not finish reading them. Someday I will finish reading them. I read all the others.
Once, I had a job working for a publishing house where my job was to edit classic novels, because classic novels fall into “public domain” and are free to publish. The novel I got to edit was Moby-Dick and my job was to re-write it and make it “reader friendly.” It was not a good job. I quit after three days. Confronted with Melville’s wall of brilliant text, my heart and my nerve gave out. What should I do with the first sentence, even? “Hi. My name is Ishmael”? So I gave up. Great books should not be fucked with; though I’ve fucked with them here. But fucked with them in a tender way. And somehow, I feel like F. Scott Fitzgerald would grin ruefully upon seeing Tender Is the Night in 8-bit form. But maybe that’s just me.
Previously: 8-bit illustrations of 8 famous short stories