When you’re walking around the floors of New York Comic Con, it can get a bit overwhelming. Video game demos in one corner, a ton of different toy displays in another; and sometimes things fall through the cracks. As I was making my way through The Block, I happened upon Pixel Art Shop and it’s wonderful creator, Kyle McCoy. He told me a little bit about his work and I knew that you Towelites would love to see what he does! McCoy was gracious enough to chat with us post-con and you can check out our interview after the jump.
Casey: I read about how you started, checking out push pin art and making your own with Perler Fuse Beads and it’s a pretty fantastic story. How has this journey been with creating our own Pixel Art Shop world?
Kyle: It’s been more popular than I ever imagined. I’m a fan of many art forms and usually become obsessed with a new one every few years but something about Perler Beads really stuck with me. My love of the craft combined with people’s enthusiasm for my work have kept me going strong for more than six years now. I’m forever in debt to the group of friends, buyers, and curators that have encouraged me and supported me the entire time.
Casey: It’s amazing that you have a lot of people supporting what you love. It has to be very encouraging. With all the work that you’re doing, what are some of your favorite pieces that you’ve done?
Kyle: That question isn’t fair. I love all my babies! Though there are some pieces that I think turned out especially well and always receive a large amount of praise. The Two-Face portrait, The Little Mermaid, Gadget’s Gadgets, Speed Racer, the Hylian Shield & Master Sword… And more recently, I’ve been really pleased with some Mini-Pix collections like Star Wars, Batman Villains and Bob’s Burgers.
Casey: I love the ones you mentioned, especially that Speed Race and Inspector Gadget. I used to watch both shows as a kid, and the Perler Beads really make it look like the cartoon frames comes to life. I understand that you take commissions on your work, was there anything that was TOO out there that you had to refuse?
Kyle: As an artist, I love accepting challenges to make stuff I normally wouldn’t. It forces me to up my game and think outside my own interests. I’ve yet to turn anything down. A bunch of my most popular pieces have been commissions that I probably wouldn’t have made myself. Buyers will sometimes bring their own ideas to the table and it’s great to come up with something really unique. Some examples would be The Little Mermaid, Scott Pilgrim, and the New York Knicks logo.
Casey: I was actually listening to the Scott Pilgrim Game Soundtrack as I wrote up these questions, I love that game! Your style ranges all over the place throughout pop culture, much like myself. What were your biggest influences growing up that shaped you into the creator your are today?
Kyle: I gotta give the number one spot to The Simpsons. Nothing shaped my world view more than the citizens of Springfield. That and South Park basically created my sense of humor. Throw in some Darkwing Duck, Twin Peaks, Get Smart, ReBoot, and Batman (animated series + Adam West series) along with recent shows like Arrested Development and Community, and I’ve got no shortage of inspiration.
Casey: Hahaha, you seem to have quite the broad spectrum of amazing pieces of pop culture to draw upon for your inspiration. The Springfield piece is a thing of pure beauty, any thoughts on producing another project of that size and scope?
Kyle: I’m actually in the early stages of creating something even bigger. Something that encompasses a much wider variety of pop-culture icons. I can’t go into detail yet but it’s going to make Springfield look like practice. Very excited.
Casey: Really? I can’t wait to see what could put THAT piece to shame. It’s massive! Switching gears a bit, I really enjoy the section on your site called ‘Collector’s Corner’ where your fans submit where they have your artwork displayed. How does it make you feel to know that your work hanging in these peoples houses?
Kyle: Amazing. The fact that a perfect stranger can see one of my pieces and it connects with them in such a way that they are willing to spend their hard-earned dollars to display it in their homes and businesses… It’s unreal. A lot of love goes into each piece and I’m so glad people respond to that.
Casey: It’s gotta be a really surreal feeling. I loved that the fans have embraced your work so much and want to show it off. What’s coming up next for you? More conventions? More commissions? Where lies the future for Pixel Art Shop?
Kyle: Conventions are so much work to put together but always a blast. I’m currently looking into next year’s San Diego Comic-Con. And I’d love to hit up other shows in Denver, Seattle, Chicago… I’ll just have to see if the timing works out. Right now, I’m in the middle of planning an online web series that will delve deeper into the Perler Bead craft. I’m really looking forward to showing people a behind-the-scenes look at how much time and effort goes into creating each piece of artwork.
Of course, at the end of the day, I’ll always be creating new works, taking commissions, and constantly trying to one-up myself. Every piece is an experiment and I’m currently working on things I never would have dreamed of just a year ago. What will I be working on a year from now? I can’t wait to find out.
Whatever Kyle McCoy has planned and wants to do, I can’t wait to find out and show off to your Towelites! If you’d like to know more about Kyle and even get a chance to win a piece of Pixel Art yourself, make sure to LIKE his page on Facebook! You can also follow him on the Twitters, visit his website to purchase his great work and buy some Holiday swag for your friends and family at his Etsy Shop.
Thanks so much to Kyle McCoy for taking the time to answer our questions and chat about his amazing Pixel Art Shop!
Check out this mini-documentary by One Focus Video that goes behind-the-scenes on McCoy’s work and the Perler Bead craft!