If life were a videogame, would it be pixelated? In the world of Florida based E.T. Artist the answer would be a resounding yes. As someone whose been a gamer pretty much his entire life, I’ve always look at pixel art with a nostalgic fondness. It then comes to no surprise that I was drawn to the work of ‘E.T. artist’, whose pieces often portray another love of mine, film, specifically into reworked scenes of iconic cinematic moments from pop culture like ‘Scarface’ or ‘Jurassic Park’. This work, the second of three variations called JPEG Priority is part of a collection aptly called ‘The Burn Club’. Its inspiration was the ‘Travis’ album cover from ‘Rara’, but the artist took the subject matter (a burning Lamborghini) into its own unique direction. We see a scantily clad 16-bit bikini ‘babe’ posing for a selfie in front of the wreckage of a sports car steadily consumed by flames.
While the element is clearly satirical, it also wouldn’t be far from a real-life situation, as these days we often see people risking life and limb for that perfect shot to share on social media, indifferent of the consequences to themselves or other people. I really like how the pixelated texture of the work adds to this message somehow, underlining perhaps how absurd these kinds of situations are. One can even take the message of the image further and look at it as a statement on the current state of the planet. As we literally experience the world burning around us, do we take action to put out the fire or do we just look for the self-centered gratification of that one minute of internet fame? Humor often has the power to make us reflect on society and E.T. artist manages to fulfil that potential very well with this series. Even the title can be looked at as a statement, the priority of the JPEG over the priority of our own or others safety. I’d be quite interested in seeing E.T. artist convert his work into an actual video game one day, but then again perhaps the work is best enjoyed in slices of time/life like this one.