Sunday, May 18, 2014

8-Bit Superstar: The Ingenious Art of Jude Buffum

If something of cultural importance exists in the world, chances are Jude Buffum has pixelated it, added his own hilariously incredible perspective, and sent it back out into the world even more awesome than it started out. Everything is fair game: cult movies, beloved video games, politicians, indie rock bands. Nothing is safe. Nothing! And, by God, if I could afford to own every single piece of art Jude Buffum has ever made, I would. I am totally smitten.

Jude graduated from the Tyler School of Art in 2001 with a BFA in Graphic Arts and Design, where he went on to teach design and typography courses for five years. After that he taught illustration at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for several years. While he was a part of the design and illustration duo Headcase Design (2002–2007), Jude designed books for such pop-culture phenomena as the Broadway show “Wicked” and HBO’s “The Sopranos”, as well as the best-selling book The Baby Owner’s Manual, which he also illustrated. Other clients include the New York Times, SONY, UPS, Target, Square/Enix, Brooks Running, Courtney Love, the US Postal Service, Disney, Publix, and Toyota/SCION. Jude’s design and illustration have received awards from Graphis, Communication Arts, AIGA, Print Magazine, Society of Illustrators, 3x3, and American Illustration, and his non-commercial work has been exhibited internationally.

In an interview with Tribe Magazine in 2013, Jude Buffum explains his love of pixels:

What I love about working with pixels is that they bring this whole language of gaming into the art, and that gives me a lot of options to play with those metaphors, whether it's scoring points, dialogue boxes, item menus, status meters, that sort of thing. So usually I am looking at which of the concepts would best be exploited by the subject matter. The other thing I love about it is the element of nostalgia. People my age, give or take ten years, can look at it and immediately we're all taken to this very specific place in our memories. For me, it's such a pleasant memory it's almost euphoric. But then I take that almost childlike state of mind, and place it in a modern context with very adult themes like violence or sex or political corruption, and that juxtaposition creates very intense feeling. 
Back in 2010, Jude also helped out in the marriage equality fight with a piece entitled Civil Disunion. It was part of Manifest Equality's art exhibit featuring a diverse array of visual artists to raise awareness for the cause of equal rights for all Americans.

Be sure to check out Jude's amazing Website where you can peruse his latest works and purchase prints, t-shirts, throw pillows and more! Also, go to his incredible Flickr page for more of the risque artwork! Also, be sure to watch the videos at the bottom of the article!

Click on any picture to enlarge!

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