Pixels for posterity – The New Indian Express
Express news service
CHENNAI: What do the Madras High Court, Madras Literary Society, College of Engineering, and Senate have in common? As well as occupying a prominent place in Madras’ evolving landscape, the red-brick Indo-Saracen architectural wonders have contributed to the city’s rich heritage and have stood the test of time. While historical monuments have been documented on different media over the years, here is a series of art that portrays and celebrates them in pixels.
In their 15-part art series, Pixels of Madras, artists Sai Sudharshan R and Reshika RS commemorate the city’s heritage. Deciphering the philosophy behind the use of pixels as a medium, Sai explains: “What better time to pay homage to Madras than the month of its birthday? Pixels tend to have a blurry effect on the eyes and the brain. We have used this digital art form to emphasize the importance of maintaining and preserving these centuries-old properties in good condition for the future.
Because by failing to do so, we would lose important parts of our city and they will become a hazy memory like the art form itself. Sai and Reshika both have architectural backgrounds. While Sai is an alumnus of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Anna University, Reshika continues his studies at the same college. “Our first pixel illustration was for Guindy’s College of Engineering at the age of 226. The idea of exploring the medium came about when I was playing the Pokemon FireRed game. Pixels are associated with older games but are relevant and respected to this day.
I wanted to illustrate our university building in the format as it has survived hard times and adapted to modern technology. The work was appreciated by alumni and teachers, ”says Sai, a freelance graphic designer. Cut off from their latest project, some of the other important buildings featured in their ongoing series of works are the Anna Nagar Tower, the Directorate of Public Education campus, the second Madras Lighthouse (located on the premises of the High Court of Madras), the burning of Royapuram Temple, Armenian Church and Doveton Building – Women’s Christian College.
Bringing the best of Reshika’s live landscape drawing skills and Sai’s graphic design abilities, the duo’s series stands out with its distinct visual elements. Highlighting some of the challenges of working with the medium, they say, “Pixel art is often in a condensed format and the canvas is limited. While you want to incorporate all of the essential design elements, there are space constraints. The combination of colors is crucial. The background color must synchronize with the building.
If you notice, each building’s sky is different. That said, the medium is here to stay and there is a lot of potential to improvise. Once completed, they hope to design the various communities residing in Madras and their livelihoods through the pixel series. They also plan to develop these art series into a city-themed game. Customizable posters, postcards and merchandise are also expected. “The Pixel of Madras series is a way to evoke memories and bring awareness to some of the city’s underrated buildings. It is high time that we pay attention to them! summarizes Sai. For more details, visit Instagram @ the.saiborg and @ rays.from. beyond