Dave Grey – “I think that love shows in the pixels”

August, 2016
Reading Time
4.5 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

We talk to Dave Grey, the pixel artist.

Today we’re talking to Dave Grey, a prolific pixel artist who has worked on games, but who also loves distilling images from popular culture into the style of computer games from the 80’s.

Graphics in games are getting better all the time. While every iteration of console or graphics card brings us one step closer to photorealism in computer-generated graphics, there is also an increasingly popular counter-culture of creating indie games in the style of 8-bit and 16-bit titles from the 80’s and early 90’s.

The 34th 366 Award goes to Dave Grey for his outstanding creative work.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I live in Bristol and make things with pixels. I’ve worked on art for companies like Xbox, games like ‘Mainlining’, a point and click hacking adventure game coming out in October, and my own action adventure game ’Ikiryo’, as well lots of fan art.

firewatch by Dave Grey

You work resembles retro 8-bit computer games. What is it that you like about this this style?

I grew up surrounded by pixels in the eighties, playing games like Another World that have stayed with me ever since. When it came to wanting to create my own art, pixels were really the only choice; they’re in my blood. I think what I love most about pixels is that they make you think about the ‘feel’ of something, rather than the detail.

Ori Pixel Art

Can you tell us a little more about your process and how you reduce often complex characters from popular culture into a handful of pixels?

It’s about getting good reference material to work from, breaking down what makes them feel rather than look like the character and then rebuilding that with pixels. The thing I think is most important is having a love for the source material or concept. I think that love shows in the pixels, and it makes it much easier to find the essence of a character if you have a connection with them.

Pixel Lighting

You’re prolific in your pixel projects. How long does a typical one take to do?

It really depends on the project. Sometimes a character can take minutes, other times I can spend hours and hours moving around a few pixels until it feels right.

Avengers Animated

Finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?

Exquisite Dead guy by They Might Be Giants?

Exquisite Dead Guy"
Exquisite Dead Guy (1996)
They Might Be Giants
Play on Apple Music
Play on Spotify
Play on YouTube
What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
Dave Grey
Our Forest