Pixelated: The Art of Digital Illustration will bring 26 illustrations by the most widely recognized and awarded illustrators working today to the Low Illustration Gallery at the New Britain Museum of American Art through Dec. 9. An opening reception is planned from 5:30-8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 3 with curatorial remarks at 6 p.m. Curated by Scott Bakal, artist and professor at the Massachussetts College of Art and Design, the exhibition will open a window into the world of the modern illustrator and the tools and techniques that have transformed the face of illustration in the 21st century. All of the works presented in the exhibition were created in part or in whole with digital tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Corel Painter and other computer peripherals.
The roster of featured artists spans generations from the most seasoned illustrators with over three decades of experience to some of the youngest and newest names in the field. A number of the artists have been using digital means throughout their entire career, while others have expanded their traditional approach to include digital methods or have transformed their practice altogether. Commonly seen throughout the exhibition is a combination of techniques and mediums that have evolved into individual styles throughout the artists’ careers.
Among the featured artists is Melinda Beck, who has not only produced illustrations for such noteworthy publications as the The New York Times, Random House, Rolling Stone and GQ, but also created Emmy-nominated animation for Nickelodeon and designs for MTV and Nike. Also on view are works by Matt Mahurin, who has been an important figure in illustration, photography, video and film since the 1980s. While he is perhaps best known for taking the O.J. Simpson mug shot that appeared on the cover of Time, he has also created music videos for U2, Metallica, Soundgarden, and Tom Waits, as well as produced films and documentaries including I Like Killing Flies, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Another standout is Edel Rodriguez. Along with receiving awards from Communication Arts, American Illustration and the coveted Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators, he has created art for The New Yorker, MTV, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal and Nike. Edel has also illustrated three children’s books: Mama Does the Mambo, Oye Celia, and Float Like a Butterfly. Last year, he created the artwork for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies that graced an enormous billboard in Times Square. Rodriguez’s accomplishments rival those of Yuko Shimizu who has contributed illustrations to major magazines and companies in the US, including Gap, MTV, Pepsi, Target, and Visa and has won the Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators.
Collectively, the artists participating in Pixelated: The Art of Digital Illustration have been the makers of some of the most recognizable images in today’s visual culture. Beyond presenting singular works by Melinda Beck, Mark Bender, Richard Borge, Harry Campbell,Marcos Chin, Lisa Desimini, Leo Espinosa, Alessandro Gottardo (Shout!), Tomer Hanuka, Jason Kernevich & Dustin Summers (Heads of State), Todd Lockwood, William Low, Matt Mahurin, Barbara Nessim, Victo Ngai, Edel Rodriguez, ZinaSaunders, Yuko Shimizu, Chris Spollen, Nancy Stahl, Brian Stauffer, Katherine Streeter, Dale Stephanos, Jack Tom, James Yang, and Heidi Younger, the exhibition will feature interactive displays with digital galleries and video reels of artists at work to extend viewing opportunities. By providing a glimpse into artists’ creative use of digital media to animate and enhance not only two-dimensional artworks, but also animations, short films, commercials, and music videos, Pixelated: The Art of Digital Illustration celebrates the intersections between art and technology to showcase the exciting possibilities of contemporary illustration.
New Britain Museum of American Art Museum Hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday: noon-5 p.m.; Closed on Mondays and national holidays.