Welcome to the newest installment of Gabbin’ with Gamers where The Switch Effect is happy to welcome Tyler (a.k.a. 8 Bit Artist). Tyler is the ORIGINAL 8 Bit Artist of Instagram and if you’ve viewed his page, then you know how talented he is with Perler beads. If you haven’t, then this is the perfect opportunity to learn more!
Thank you Tyler for giving us this interview. We came upon your Instagram page and saw that you are that you design amazing 8 bit inspired Perler beads. Each one is so detailed and very creative. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you guys so much for interviewing me! This is pretty wild. Sure, I’m from Stamford, Connecticut and for as long as I can remember I have been playing video games.
Can you tell us about how you got into gaming?
Gaming has always been a part of my life. I mean I remember watching my father play Contra when I was like maybe 4 or 5 years old. Eventually, my brother and I took over the consoles, but he would always watch us.
What was the first console and game that you owned?
Sega Genesis and Zombies Ate My Neighbors! Still to do this day one of the best games I have ever played and yes I am aware that nostalgia skews my opinion!
Do you have any fond childhood memories based around gaming?
Yes! Ok, so my brother and I got a PlayStation 1 for Christmas one year. We only had the demo disc, so I was just playing the demos for Metal Gear Solid, Medieval, Crash Bandicoot Warped, and A Bug’s Life for like a week. Eventually, the local video rental store near us got PS1 games, so we could finally get some new games. I just wanted to impress my brother, so I asked him what game to get. He tells me when I was BARELY 6 years old, “oh get this game”; it was Resident Evil 1. I go home and my brother goes out, so it’s just me playing the PlayStation. I pop in Resident Evil and FREAK OUT! There is a cinematic early in that game where this zombie is eating someone and slowly turns around; I shut off my TV and RAN downstairs as fast as I could. Ironically, it became my favorite game on PS1 next to Metal Gear.
Let’s talk about your Perler bead art. What inspired you to design perler bead art?
Well, I can’t draw or paint to save my life, but I have always had this artistic itch to create something. I’ve played bass guitar for 15 years, but it never fully satisfied that creative outlet I was looking for. I picked up Perler beads and was HOOKED. I’ve also always loved video game knick-knacks like pop figures, stupid little things you would get as pre-order bonuses and pretty much anything gaming related that could sit on my desk or shelf. So I decided, “You know what? I want to bring some of these games to life myself” and I’ve loved it ever since.
How long have you been doing this?
About seven years or so which is kind of crazy to say, but I only recently started posting my work on Instagram. I had an Instagram account a few years back, but it was hacked and then permabanned by IG, so I’m starting from scratch.
What has been your favorite character to design?
That’s a tough question. If I had to say one, it would have to be Blastoise. It was the first big piece I made and I remember the anxiety I had when I was ironing it thinking there is no way this doesn’t mess up. Also, the Pokémon booster pack that had Blastoise on it was the pack I found my Holographic Charizard in when I was younger, so Blastoise has always been my guy.
Gotta catch ’em all!
What character are you most looking forward to creating?
I have a piece planned out for Christmas and I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but it will be the biggest piece I have ever made. In fact, it is probably the largest version of a character anyone has ever done. To say I was nervous about messing it up is an understatement, but I’m REALLY excited to get him done. However, there are a few I can tell you about such as Joel and Ellie from The Last Of Us, more Christmas themed Pokémon, and the list goes on. Every day I probably come up with 3- 4 characters I add to my to-do list.
Here’s one to get you thinking. If you weren’t doing art, what would be your hobby?
I’ve always been really into reptiles and was breeding/selling Crested Geckos and Bearded Dragons for a while. I’d think I would still be doing work with other types of reptiles.
As you’re aware, technology continues to advance the gaming industry. Have you been a fan of these changes?
Absolutely! The more technology advances, the more developers will be able to do with video games! What I’m not a fan of is the amount of DLC and how normalized micro-transactions have become. Not all DLC is bad, but there is some DLC that is ridiculous. I don’t think I should buy a game at release and then the next month there is DLC for it. It just seems like they took pieces out of the completed game to make an extra dollar and it’s unfair to the fan base.
Where do you think technology will bring us in the future?
It’s hard to say really, but I’d like to see VR progress more and see where that goes. The problem with VR right now is: (A) The headset is bulky (B) It’s incredibly expensive and (C) It comes off as gimmicky. It will be interesting to see what direction they go with it.
We at The Switch Effect are obviously big fans of Nintendo’s new console. What are your impressions of the Switch?
Honestly, I haven’t played a switch yet, but I’m picking one up on Black Friday and I am EXCITED! The Switch so far has proven to be excellent, but the Achilles heel of recent Nintendo consoles has been putting out more than 6 games people want to actually play. I bought a Wii-U and played through Wind Waker and A TON of Mario Kart 8, but eventually you hit this plateau and start either gaming on your PC or Xbox/PlayStation. I think as long as Nintendo releases older titles on their digital store as well as releases, they should be in good shape moving forward.
Which new games are you looking forward to the most?
I want to play The Last of Us 2 so bad it isn’t even funny, but that is a while away. I’m interested in checking out Hunt: The Showdown when it releases as well as Ni No Kuni 2.
The process behind the art
We came across your Instagram account and loved seeing your art. What interested you in starting a social media account?
Thank you so much! Well, I originally was posting on my personal Instagram, but I knew my friends and family would say nice things regardless of how the piece turned out, so I made “8_Bit_Artist_” to get unbiased opinions on the pieces I made.
What is the best way for our readers/followers to keep up with you?
Instagram is the best way to get in contact with me. I respond to comments and DM’s as quickly as I can. I also have a Facebook page that I will be posting more on as well and the link can be found below.
Last question now that we’ve run you through the gauntlet. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I just want to say thank you guys so much for taking the time to do this and reaching out to me for this interview. You know there are a lot of insanely talented artists out there and I think the more people support local artists, the better. Encourage your friends that are artists/musicians/whatever because that one little boost can be all it takes for them to take it to the next level. Who knows, that friend that draws could one day create your favorite video game character, or that person who plays guitar could one day write your favorite song. Lastly, this is to every single person that has liked my pictures, left comments, bought a sprite, sent messages, or shared my work. You are what keeps me going and motivated. I cannot explain in words how appreciative I am for you all and I love you all. Thank you so much!
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with The Switch Effect and for our readers to learn more about your gaming art passion.