Submissions for the Shibuya Pixel Art contest 2020 are now open.

The competition which focuses on the production and appreciation of retro art is accepting both digital and analog submissions in a variety of different mediums.

A panel of judges will be looking to award projects that are outstanding in originality, sociality, and composition.

To enter the contest, your artwork should express any of the following themes or a combination of them; “Shibuya”, “AI”, “Humanity”, “Game” and “Landscape”. During the contest period, follow the official Shibuya Pixel Art accounts on both twitter and instagram and use the hashtag #shibuyapixelart2020 with your piece title in the description to submit.

Artists are spoilt for choice this year with four different categories that can be entered into;

Limited Pixel Art - This category is described as artistic work that utilises a limited number of squares and a small number of colours. Simplicity is best with this one.

To apply, the art must be 16 x 16 pixels (can be enlarged for submission) and must be able to be reproduced with the following gadgets: DITOO/ PIXOO/ TIVOO.

The winner of this category will be awarded with their very own DITOO speaker.

Analog Pixel Art - This year, Pixel Art has stepped out of the boundary of the digital world, and has gone analog. Anything goes, as long as it’s not digital. Some suggestions include but are not limited to, sculpture, painting, drawing, ironing beads(nano beads), embroidery, blocks and so on.

The winner of this category will get their hands on 1000 pieces of each nano bead colour (with nano beads coming in 47 different colours, that’s 47,000 beads in total!)

Beyond Pixel Art - Judges will be looking for a redefinition of the word “pixel” in this category, regardless of whatever medium it is created in. If you can look beyond the pixel box, then this is the category for you.

The winner of this category will be given the chance to exhibit their work somewhere in Shibuya (digital works will be supported with an online gallery instead)

Pixel Art Game - If you have a lot of motivation, focus, and time on your hands then you will probably have your eyes set on this category. Create a game using limited pixels and squares. The game must be 128 x 128 pixels and be able to be played on PICO-8 or on a web browser.

To submit make sure you send the link of your game to the contest. The usual licence fee of $14.99 will be exempted If you apply via PICO-8.

Winners of this category will presented with a Pimoroni PICADE.

It is important to note that you can also enter the same category multiple times with different artworks.

The application period for art submissions is from May 1st until midnight on June 30th.

To partake you must not have won any previous art contest with the submitted artwork.

This year's contest judges are Tetsuya Mizuguchi, eBoy, Kazuko Shibuya, Shigetaka Kurita, Yuta Toyoi and 2019 winner m7kenji.

The winners of Shibuya Pixel Art 2020 will be announced in early August, with the artists being contacted by DM from the official Shibuya Pixel Art Twitter or Instagram accounts.

A special exhibition being held on the 8th floor of Shibuya Hikarie will showcase the winners of the competition from September 25th, 2020, and the winning artworks will also be published in Shibuya Pixel Art’s 2020 Artist Collection Book.

The Shibuya Pixel Art webpage introduces this year's contest with a deep look at the importance of continuing to empower artists through the desperate time we currently find ourselves in – the webpage has a google translate extension, but we all know how finicky the service can be, and we think our translation does more justice:

“Currently the world is deep in a battle against the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Not only is this pandemic life-threatening, but it has also imposed a variety of constraints on us and has brought all economic and cultural activities to a sudden halt. Restrictions have been placed on going to school or work, yet what is worse is that we have been deprived of our freedom to go outside.

The virus has caused hostile division between nations, has created icy rifts amidst different generations and has led to a ‘negative spiral’ of further complications and difficulties for some of the most vulnerable.

Watching all of this unravel, we cannot help but be pessimistic. How can an artist continue to thrive in such a bleak time?

Despite the uncertainties, many artists have pressed on with work from home – in search of a certain richness that can satisfy the heart.

Perhaps #stayhome is a time for artists across the globe to nurture their creativity after all.

Recently Germany’s Minister of Culture, Monica Glutters said of the situation, “artists are not only indispensable but also vital in order to sustain life”. Perhaps we do not care so much about ‘protecting culture’, but there is one thing that is certain; the opportunity to ‘empower artists and to promote creative growth’ must be continued.

In order to support artists, Shibuya Pixel Art is holding its annual pixel art contest. #staypixel = the power of pixel art!

Shibuya Pixel Art website

With many of us finding ourselves in a lot of stressful situations lately, there has never been a better time to appreciate the simple yet artistic nature of pixel art. If you are unsure of where to start, head over to the official Shibuya Pixel Art twitter and instagram accounts for some inspiration.

Good luck with your submissions!

By - Connie Sceaphierde.