Forget the low-res Mario of the 16-bit era, or the first renderings of Pokémon from the early chapters of that 25-year-old franchise. Today, pixel art (dotto kei in Japanese), the staple of indie video games, has gone far beyond gaming. Thanks to Tumblr and its more successful cousins, Instagram and Twitter, pixel art is a fully legitimate genre for digital artists.
One such pixel enthusiast is Pacific Northwest-based artist Jubilee, who goes professionally by her first name only. Though she’s best known for her serene landscapes, their clouds reflecting magical sunsets and moonlight, I came to her work through her Instagrammed “tea studies,” artworks depicting beverages in mugs, cups, or tumblers. “I honestly started [making them] because I saw the original photographs online, and thought they just felt so warm,” says Jubilee, with whom I spoke recently by phone. “I really like making people feel things whenever they look at my art.”