Glitch and Data Bending

I’ve been looking into pixel art for inspiration for potential artwork. I found when I looked for “abstract pixel art” what came back was lots of the same kind of stuff. Basically abstract pixel art is horizontal stripes of colour, usually representing some kind of human character. The many artists who do this abstract pixel art all basically do that exact same thing. I don’t really get why. I mean when the first person did it, that’s interesting… When the 500th person is making little box characters from stripes of colour I’m pretty sure it’s been pushed as far as it will go.


So that was a mostly disappointing search. One thing I did find this morning was “glitch” art. It’s where you take an image file and then edit it in a text editor or a hex editor and mess up the code so that you end up with a distorted and messed up “glitched” image. For most people it’s the equivalent of a filter on an iphone (I think there are actually glitch filters in some photo editing suites) that makes your photos look weird, but it’s actually something you can learn to control and use in some very interesting ways although I think it’s probably something that takes a long time to understand enough to make work well. I discovered an artist called Gregory E. Pilling (clearly his real name) who posts lots of experiments on tumblr, some of which are rather beautiful and interesting.


“Fraloyt 2” by Gregory E. Pilling – November 2011.
A heavily distorted image of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.


“Liropny Narrol” by Gregory E. Pilling – November 2011.
Precise calculations must be used to ensure that all corners meet properly. The larger, angled layer had to be rotated to 26.57 degrees and is 223.61% of the size of the smaller layer.

I think this is two of the same image, one enlarged and layed over the other at an angle so the edges line up in an interesting way.


“Vantoosit Blants” by Gregory E. Pilling – November 2011.
Orthogonal shapes don’t line up very well when rotated on intervals of 30 or 60 degrees, but the random shapes that are produced by the overlapping layers prove interesting.


“Boston City Hall Overdrive” by Gregory E. Pilling – August 2010. This was an experiment in layering various parts of a glitched image on top of each other. The result reminds me of brutalist architecture. Boston’s City Hall is one of the best examples of this under-appreciated architectural style.


Self portrait from 2011.

And then chasing up the reference to Brutalist Architecture:


Boston City Hall. I googled this and it came up on a page about Bostons ugliest buildings. “Boston’s ugliest buildings are… SURPRISE Brutalism”

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