all images courtesy the artist

On the spectrum of artistic materials, pixel art and ceramics seemingly couldn’t be further apart. On one end you have one of mankind’s oldest forms of expression dating back to the late Paleolithic period. On the other, a digital form of art that was born in the 1970s. It was this gap that drew artist Toshiya Masuda down the path of uniting them.


At first glance Masuda’s work, especially viewed through a screen like anyone who’s reading this, appears to be pixelated versions of ordinary objects like sneakers, a humble bowl of rice and a raw egg, or an ashtray. Upon closer observation, viewers will note that these are carefully composed ceramic blocks of color. And the objects the artist typically sculpts out of clay tend to be objects of nostalgia, which further play into the gap between analog and digital. In fact, Masuda’s work feels especially appropriate in this day and age when we’re living in a world where virtual reality is constantly blurring the boundaries between real and un-real.

If you would like to see Toshiya Masuda’s work in-person, one of his latest works, a greyish pair of sneakers that appear to have been partially melted, are part of the Shibuya Pixel Art exhibition (9/15 – 9/24/2023). The show features 70 artists working in pixel art, at multiple site all around Shibuya. Masuda’s work is on view at UNKNOWN (google map), a renovated kominka that now functions as an event venue.

You can also keep up with the artist on Twitter.