• Pixelesque/26


Maxalot present eBoy's first Barcelona gallery exhibition.
eBoy is widely credited for starting the new wave in pixel-based graphics.
Mixing popular culture and commercial icons into their wild imaginary worlds, eBoy build three-dimensional illustrations filled with robots, cars, guns and girls.
Their unique style has gained them a cult following among graphic designers worldwide, as well as a long list of commercial clients.
Pixelesque shows new eBoy works, as well as images from their much-loved retrospective, and a range of eBoy products. Highlights:
-New York eCity: the latest addition to their legendary eCity series.
-Y'mies's: a series of Fruit faces created for Paul Smith's new restaurant
-Plicas: Pixelised replicas of real-world objects and logos.
-Golden Gals: Pixelised pin-ups from the eBoy collectable cards series...

Interview MXLT vs eBoy

MXLT: "So, how's things?"
eBoy: "oh fine thanks, sorry fo the slow reply ... we're buried under work right know."

MXLT: "No problem, we're busy as well...what are you busy with?"
eBoy: "We're busy with three big jobs (sorry can't tell you more), working on a huge update our website, preparing our holidays, thinking about buying 12-inch apple powerbooks .."

MXLT: "Sounds exciting. What can you tell us about this update of eboy.com and when will it be launched?
12-inches are excellent travel companions, don't forget to get the new little wireless kit to go with it."
eBoy: "actually the new air port express from apple was one of the reasons while we're thinking about buying the powerbooks. The new site will be launched very soon, we just bought a server ... new for us is that the site will be completely database driven. For this we're working together with two hackers, they build a Content Management System called BKNR in the programming language Lisp."

MXLT: " Can we expect a lot of new images?"
eBoy: "Yes, a lot more pictures ... also backstage photos and some of our experimental 3D stuff, but the most important thing is that we can update the site so easy that there will be new stuff all the time."

MXLT: "Regarding the eBoy style, what do you look at, what has inspired you, any type of architecture? Industrial designers? Comics?"
eBoy: "We google a lot and we share the things we found, we would love to show all these crazy pictures at our site but copyright might be a problem ... inspiration comes from everything around us, more from daily life like shopping, kids, traveling, TV, etc. than from design books, museums or galeries ..."

MXLT: "eBoy is: Art or Design?"
eBoy: "Don't know ..."

MXLT: "Ok,not to worry... next question:
"If you would describe yourself as a fruit, which fruit would you be and why?"
(just kidding)
Seriously now, how about those toys? (the future eBoy ones)"
eBoy: "We would love to make cars, buildings and characters made of metal or plastic that are sturdy enough for kids to play with ..."

MXLT: "I was wondering maybe if you have some sketches of an "eToy",
would be nice to show..."
eBoy: "Sorry, we don't have toy sketches yet, just some ideas in mind ..."

MXLT: "One last question, and maybe you want to add any other interesting facts yourselves,
"Where, What and How would you like eBoy to be in 10 years?"
eBoy: "It would be cool to become a toy company ... maybe we will move to California ..."

The world of eBoy is . . .
one of robots, cars, girls and guns. Their trademark style glories in the limitatrions of that digital building block: the pixel. Unfeasibly buxom women, rampaging robots and over-the-top weaponry are rendered in all their blocky, lo-res, not-quite-properly three-dimensional glory. Their style, an expansion of the computer desktop icon, finds its most sophisticated vehicle in eBoy' eCities project: richly detailed ever-expanding future urban environments that are like Sim Cities gnoine bad, with muggings, boarded-up porno cinemas, seedy bars and protesters on the streets. The joy is in the detail, built up painstakingly in photoshop to form a bustling urban portrait with a surprise around every corner. Look carefully and you'll find, perhaps, people plaing tennis on a rooftop court oblivious to the drama of a police shoot-out in progress on the street below. Or a purple gorilla descending on a pair of construction workers while the traffic roars past on an adjacent flyover.
Individual elements are built seperately, then assembled to construct the city. If some parts appear familiar it may be because they have appeared in previous works: eBoy keep all their graphic building blocks in a contsantly updated database which they draw on for each new project... While other designers torture themselves with interpretations of obscure poets or philosophical theories, eBoy's references are more likely to come from trashy sci-fi, action movies, Top Trumps cards or porn. Which isn't to say their work is shallow. Though much of eBoy's output is the stuff of classroom doodles (albeit classroom doodles for the computer age), what saves their fascination with boys' toys from the jaws of juvenilia is the rich seam of humour and irony that runs through it all. Cheesy pin-ups are pushed that bit further to become satirical rather than titillating. Their drawings of guns are less threatening weapons and more overblown armaments for cartoonish superheroes. The sharp-eyed will often be able to spot the artists themselves subtly inserted into one of their bizarre eCity tableaux, perhaps surverying their handywork from the flat roof of a bar.
There's a parallel here: in the real world eBoy are themselves observers of the mad mad world of capitalist consumerism from something of an outsider's perspective. Of the four members, Steffen Sauerteig, Svend Smital, Peter Stemmler and Kai Vermehr, all but Vermehr hail from East Germany, Though they now admit to finding inspiraion in video games, commercials, Lego and other trappings of modern Western culture, only Vermehr grew up steeped in such influenes. "Our pictures are never driven by modern ideas or a moral view of the world", they say. "It is more the fact that we marvel about human productivity and diversity. About consumerism, beauty, nastiness, power and pain... maybe you could say we deeply admire the world and its shopping centres. We believe in human capitalism and its infinite creative power." ...
Sometimes subversive, always playful, eBoy make technology fun.

By Patrick Burgoyne, taken from "Hello", eBoy's excellent first publishing by Laurence King Publishers.