The Swiss artist Mark Bern has had a quite unorthodox journey into the art world. For years, Bern was creating art prints for himself on his computer . Two and a half years ago, he had a few friends over his place who complimented his work without realising it was created by him. After the support of several friends in the art world, he decided to send a few of his pieces to an art event. His work was an instant hit and he began to grow in popularity, with his new identity: “Mark Bern, the Pixel Artist.”
Many art critics have tried to find the perfect name for his work and to conceptualize his style, from “Abstract Pixelism” to “New Cubism.” His work reflects how he sees the world in a digital fashion. Bern’s love for the digital world dates back to his childhood when he played classic videos games like Super Mario and Donkey Kong- both comprised of pixel-structured virtual worlds. The artist recalled his fascination with the pixel element:
“If you look into the world, you notice everything is a pixel. Now we don’t see it with great technology, like smartphones and LED screens, but to me, the simple pixel, the square at the end is still the basis of everything in the world.”
His first major collection “Marbella” was heavily influenced by early computer technology, with works such as Beach reminiscing the conglomerated large pixels of tv screen lost in signal; one can almost hear the the footage of static noise. His work has evolved over the years and has adapted with new technology, such as his latest work Pixel Cube, which was created with the use of a 3D printer. The artist has said that he is largely inspired by nature, and creates images based on the moods and suggestions he experiences with natural landscapes. The perspective his works create unlock a dreamy world that lies between real-life and virtual reality.
The growth of the digital world has affected every facet of our lives, including the way we see and approach art. From Photoshop to Instagram filters, it seems as if everyone can call themselves an artist thanks to modern technology. For Bern, and for many others who support using computers alongside paintbrushes, the digital world has expanded the potential of creativity, with the artist stating:
“I noticed in the beginning that some people might say, ‘Oh, you don’t have a traditional background by using a computer.’ But people also say that Art Basel is not traditional nor ‘real art.”
The ownership of computers does not make us all artists, just as purchasing paintbrushes doesn’t make anyone the next Michelangelo. The expansion of creative digital accessibility to the public, however, has allowed people from different backgrounds a chance to express themselves in new unique ways.
Despite the arguments on traditional versus untraditional art, Bern’s future is quite bright in the art world, with his vernissage last month at the boutique hotel Platzhirsch in Zurich.
There are infinite amount of possibilities in-store for Bern as he continues to explore a new frontier in 3D technology, art and space, stating: “I have some ideas to do installations, such as real-time print with several printers…creating a new dimension.”
By Toby Mellors