ARTS & CULTURE
02/15/2014 10:50 am ET

Cubism Meets Nintendo In 8-Bit Watercolor Paintings

It's not all too often we align the modernist artistic movement that is Cubism with the middle school pastime that is Nintendo, but artist Adam Lister is showing us the two realms share an unlikely bond: an aesthetic predilection for all things flat. The New York-based artist created a series of "8-Bit Watercolors," exploring the relationship between past and contemporary modes of representation. For the series Lister transforms familiar visuals, from Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" to Wonder Woman, into horizontal fields of pure color and line.

the kiss

The Kiss

Lister's works begin with a recognizable image, taken from the pages of a comic book or the walls of The Louvre, and turns the complex scene into a flurry of right angles.

"I start with a pencil drawing, blocking in a few of the bigger components of my composition," Lister explained in an email to The Huffington Post. "Then I look to build the initial sketch into a strictly angular and geometric description of the subject, using only vertical and horizontal lines. A circle becomes a square, a diagonal becomes a staircase, and the translation of the original idea is rearranged through an 8-Bit inspired visual language. I find that the transparent and subtle qualities of watercolor paint on heavyweight cold press paper present a nice contrast to the rigid structure of the each picture."

bob ross

Bob Ross

Lister's works toy with the way we see and digest images; even without curves and contours the content matter remains almost instantly recognizable. And while the digital aesthetic is rapidly gaining popularity in the art world, we rarely see the style compared to the flatness of watercolor. And to be honest, it warms our hearts a little.

"I've always thought of that having a deep connection to Cubism and later on, color field painting," Lister said. "Having grown up with Atari video games and the invention of Nintendo in the 1980's, I always connected with the minimal, block-like depictions of movement, seen in the primitive graphics of these games. To me it defined a visual world of escape and a more basic existence."

Do you see the unlikely parallel between Mario Kart and Picasso?

ironbat

IronBat

coney island

Coney Island

mona lisa at the louvre

Mona Lisa at the Louvre

mona lisa

Mona Lisa

penny

Penny

roberta smith and jerry saltz

Roberta Smith and Jerry Saltz

the selling of the scream

The Selling of "The Scream"

wonder woman

Wonder Woman

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