Tatsuo Horiuchi: The David Byrne of Excel
December 30, 2013 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Tatsuo Horiuchi came to art late in his life, and with an unusual tool. At age 60, he was inspired by graphs he saw, and started using Microsoft Excel to make art in the style of traditional Japanese scenes. See more on Spoon & Tamago and Bored Panda.
posted by filthy light thief (16 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
For clarification on the title: David Byrne likes to use PowerPoint as a tool to make art, as covered previously.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:02 PM on December 30, 2013

And for more detail on how to make those images, here's how to make such art with Excel, plus a speed-run through drawing with Excel.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on December 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

So many shapes...
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on December 30, 2013

Spoon and Tamago is my new favorite blog. This guy's great.
posted by azarbayejani at 4:16 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's certainly good looking, but I was expecting something more like data driven charts / graphs cleverly rendered to produce artwork, rather than handcrafted art made using the world's worst Inkscape interface.
posted by pwnguin at 5:46 PM on December 30, 2013 [11 favorites]

Some of those colors look off to me. Are we sure he normalized the data?
posted by surplus at 7:13 PM on December 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

The results are beautiful but it seems like they've been produced by the most convoluted and difficult means that modern tech can provide.
Maybe that's part of the point (and the art).
posted by islander at 7:55 PM on December 30, 2013

I like to think that the convoluted, difficult path to creating these is a reflection on the artist's dedication to his craft, like the shaper of topiary who uses small hand clippers to snip individual leaves, and displays that in theory anyone could do this, not just those with fancy hedge shears.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:42 PM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Looks like I have a new personal hero.
posted by JHarris at 9:49 PM on December 30, 2013

Powerpoint is my go-to vector graphic editor too. I should probably switch to inkscape, but powerpoint is ubiquitous.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:27 AM on December 31, 2013

Before I opened this up I was anticipating pixel-art using individual cells. And then I was like "it'll probably be pre-fab art that was quantized down to Excel effectively and will be bullshit, like those composite images made of other images."

Then I saw the vector video and shrugged.

Tetris in Excel is pretty cool and reminds me of what I was expecting...still works in Office 2013 once you enable the macros...
posted by lordaych at 12:56 AM on December 31, 2013

I can really identify with this, having wasted quiet half hours at work making flower and other graphics in Excel (not at this level, of course).
posted by Segundus at 2:32 AM on December 31, 2013

I did a mock Bridget Riley (Movement in Squares knockoff) in VBA in excel once. This is... not that.
posted by pompomtom at 4:58 AM on December 31, 2013

I used to have an Excel Pac-Man game, too.
posted by thelonius at 5:55 AM on December 31, 2013

When I see stuff like this, I am always a bit conflicted.

On one hand, it is really cool that he was able to make such intricate pictures with such limited tools.

On the other hand, it's a shame that he spent so much time working with such a limited system, when you imagine what he might have created if he had been able to work with a better software package.

As crappy as the drawing tools in the Office suite are, it also kind of surprises me that Microsoft hasn't yet spun them off into a low-rent vector editing program. I mean, it's all there already, isn't it? Tweak the keyboard controls to use shortcuts more similar to Adobe stuff (like cmd/ctrl-G to group, DAMN that one annoys me - why is there only a right-click option for that?!?) and release it as Microsoft Draw or some crap. Even if it's not any better than the Word/PPT art options already it would help cut into Adobe's bottom line and maybe get them back on their toes. Lord knows Adobe needs the competition, they won't improve anything unless forced to...
posted by caution live frogs at 10:34 AM on December 31, 2013

There's this: Microsoft Expression Design 4 (Free Version) - TBH it's not been a great product area for them.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

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