“That’s insane!” was the first thought to run through my head when I first saw what the creative talent at PIXELI.ST was capable of. I’m really excited to get to introduce you to this company if you haven’t run into them yet. Most companies are doing their best to turn the physical world digital but here’s a company doing the exact opposite. PIXELI.ST produces hand-made, photorealistic oil paintings of any image you can capture or create. You won’t believe the amount of detail they put into each painting (full review coming soon).
Will Freeman, a PIXELI.ST co-founder, tells me about the emotional impact he has witnessed his company’s paintings produce first-hand: “When we were testing the paintings about a year ago, I had a few made for Christmas presents. I’m Jewish, but my sister’s husband’s family is Catholic, so we all had a big Christmas get-together. Now my sister’s husband’s mother is the queen of Christmas. The amount of presents she gives puts Santa to shame. But when I gave this professional gift-giver a painting of her holding her granddaughter she burst into tears (of joy, mind you) and hugged me at least three times. She still says the painting was one of the best gifts she’s ever received.” Below is the painting Will mentioned.
Like me, most customers are delightfully surprised by the realness of the paintings. “Custom painting, not to mention photorealist custom painting, is all but dead in the western world,” Will says, “So almost everyone I’ve seen receive on of our paintings is pleasantly shocked by how real it looks.”
Pixelist came from a love of all things custom and creative. “We’ve spent years designing our own clothes, shoes, furniture, and art and hunting for the best craftspeople to bring them to life. So we were naturally attracted to the idea of harnessing the popularity of Instagram to revive commissioned painting,” he says. Such a grand scheme, however, was quite difficult to execute. “We spent over a year testing hundreds of painters to find a group that could consistently deliver paintings we were proud to sell. Then we ran a crowdfunding campaign to make sure people wanted them.”
In the future, PIXELI.ST hopes to allow customers to view artist portfolios and pick their painter. That certainly excites Will: “Hopefully that will push Pixelist beyond photorealism into any style our painters can paint!”