Almost all of my favorite works of art have one thing in common: They allow me to imagine the world beyond just the scene. It leaves room for me to see through the eyes of those captured, get into the minds of the characters, and see just a little more than what’s in front of me. Maybe that has to do with how many Where’s Waldo books that my mom put in front of me.
That’s why I’m so taken with Octavi Navarro’s pixel art. Navarro’s work allows and beckons me to ask questions. Why did that car crash? Are the wolves protecting that person or soon to eat them? Does the couple know what lurks in the night? Is this their final stand? Why is the birdman crying? When is this iceberg and how does one get invited to that party? It’s playful. The layered cut outs give the impression of something like Tiny Tower or the Pocket Planes/Trains but the actions inside them do something that those games cannot. The individual tableaus work together to make something more than the sum of each part. Each circus performer is interesting—the strongman, the acrobat, the fire breather, and the ringleader are all there. But together there is a kind of cohesion.
Navarro, who also illustrates children’s books, has done something wonderful here. The layers in the scenes are more than simply depth of field, they contain little stories all their own. They pop out of their flatness and tell stories of their own. It’s those little stories that elevate Navarro’s work from “pixel art” as such to simply art.
See the rest of Navarro’s work here.