Consisting of members Steffen Sauerteig, Svend Smital and Kai Vermehr, the eBoy collective was founded in 1998 as a channel to explore the three men’s shared interest in the burgeoning pixel art movement. Ten years later, and still at the forefront of pixel art, eBoy has worked with many of the top brands in the world; The New York Times, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Honda are only a few of the hundred plus companies eBoy has created pixel art for. With their work now not just online, but in print, and in galleries, eBoy’s eye for detail is finally being embraced worldwide.
“If we don’t work on other projects at the same time it takes about six to eight weeks to finish a very detailed cityscape, three eBoy’s working on it, nearly full time.”
Format: How did you discover your shared love for pixels?
eBoy: We started working with pixels because we loved the idea of making pictures only for the screen. It’s the best way to get really sharp and clean looking results. Also, handling pixels is fun and you are forced to simplify and abstract things, which is a big advantage of this technique.
Format: How has pixel art changed since eBoy was formed in 1998?
eBoy: We used it in a different context, not only for icons and screen design. Mostly it’s getting printed today and not used for computer screens only any more. Also our images are getting more and more complex and richer with details.
Format: Where does eBoy stand on the argument of “true” pixel art, or the placing of individual pixels to create pixel art vs. the use of other tools to create pixel art?
eBoy: We don’t know this argument, but we care very much about every single detail. And at the end the result matters, not the tools or how it was achieved.
Format: How long does it take to create a full city, and what is the process in creating one?
eBoy: If we don’t work on other projects at the same time it takes about six to eight weeks to finish a very detailed cityscape, three eBoy’s working on it, nearly full time. But, if we have to do it in our spare time, which happens often, it could take years to finish a picture since we can’t spend so much time on it.
Format: Cities are the most prominent work by eBoy. Why is that?
eBoy: We love the liveliness, density and variety of an urban environment and that is reflected in our work. Apparently other people share our interests and enjoy the scenes we have created and the city images became a large part of our commercial work as well.
Format: eBoy also has a collection of “jerk portraits.” Who have been some of your favorite portraits? Why are they jerks?
eBoy: We like all the “Jerks. Maybe the Microjerks a bit more because they are simpler to do and also they look a bit more abstract. At first we pixelated some bad guys from the FBI most wanted lists, but later we “jerked” us and our friends and some famous guys too. It became our way to make portraits.
Format: What’s in the future for eBoy?
eBoy: There will be eBoy toys very soon! Making toys is what we wanted to do since we started with eBoy. Right now we are working together with Kidrobot on a toy figure system with swappable parts. The first figure will come out this summer and a lot more later on.