Who are you?
Wdup! I’m Sleepy Ghost, I make pixel art animations and also make music. I’m based in Los Angeles (go Lakers) and I’m also pretty big into basketball and the current digital art landscape, mostly on HEN.
When did you start making art?
Honestly, pixel art is relatively new to me. I picked it up less than a year ago I’d say, but I tend to hyper fixate on things that I enjoy, so I’ve been practicing and making pieces almost every day. I’ve been a musician for a much longer stretch of time, however, but mostly have released work under a slew of different aliases.
What inspires your style?
I would probably say my time with my GameBoy color, which I had as a kid. I tend to really appreciate limited color palettes and smaller resolutions because of the specific technical limitations of what the GameBoy could handle. I try to replicate that ‘feeling’ as much as I can without necessarily hard limiting myself to the actual GameBoy Color restrictions. Musically, I’m inspired by too many artists to mention, but I’ve been getting into a lot more electronic/DnB stuff recently.
“Very Spooky Hallway (Warning: Very Spooky)” by Sleepy
What is the process of creating one of your artworks?
I mostly just start with templating and drawing out quick outlines of things within aseprite. A lot of people I know tend to sketch things on paper first, but I feel like the medium shift never translates for me correctly, so I start everything within the program I want to use to finish. Within animated pieces specifically, I keep everything in the outline realm until there’s an approximate ‘feel’ for how I want something to move or look. From there I kinda just pick away at different features of the sprites/backgrounds, try to add the right blend of colors, place any general particle fx, then put on finishing touches whatever they may be. I mostly try to keep the process as simple as possible and just kind of feel out what needs to be done for a piece day by day.
Why do you love pixel art?
Great question. I’ve loved the look of “pixel art” before I even knew that term, since a ton of games I played as a kid were made with pixel art. My most fond games of that era were probably Zelda: Link’s Awakening and Pokemon Silver. I remember wanting to be a game developer as a kid (and an NBA player), and make grand RPGs like those, but those plans got derailed for other interests later in my life. However, I do specifically remember trends like “8 bit aesthetic” and “retro game art” being popular on my tumblr feed (back in the early tumblr days), and I’ve been an admirer of the “8 bit aesthetic” ever since those terms came to life. I’ve had a few prints hanging in my room for years from a few pixel artists who I really admire, and was always inspired to start learning, but never really got to it until earlier this year.
When and why did you start making NFTs?
I actually posted my first NFT on HEN about a month ago haha, even though I’ve been a collector for closer to a year now. I honestly really love the relationship dynamics within the NFT world, specifically between artist and collector. Before, that was limited to collectors buying prints/merchandise, which takes a huge financial risk (not to mention time/effort) on the part of the artist before a sale was even guaranteed. Either that, or having your piece be placed in a gallery somewhere, however this is heavily gatekept and not accessible to the average artist, let alone average person. In addition, another somewhat limited way of artists being able to make money is through commissions, where the artist provides a service based on the collectors vision and restrictions. But now, within the time of NFTs, that collector <-> artist relationship is completely open. The artist is free to commit to their vision, their interests, their work (with the ease of publishing digitally) and the collector chooses to collect on the basis of their values. I love the idea of freedom in it.
What do you love about life?
A lot of things. Honestly art is amazing to me, I find new artists literally every day that I’m amazed by. I love being able to take little bits and pieces of either technical knowledge or artistic inspiration from other works and trying to apply that to my own stuff. I always feel like the creation of art is ultimately just an expression of the work that you’ve been exposed to and moved by, just mediated by your technical expertise. So I try to let my influences take me where they want to go if I’m ever making stuff.
Do you have any pieces that are your favorite?
Hmmm, it’s hard to say. My current favorite might actually be a piece I haven’t put out yet, since it was the first “major” pixel art piece where I felt like I had finally gotten a grasp of the art form. I still toy with the project every once in a while, adding little improvements here and there, and will probably put it out eventually. Of the pieces I’ve released, I do really like “Don’t Give Up”. I like the simplicity of it and it’s something I hope people can relate to on a personal level. In addition, I’m really proud of how the general sound design came out.
What hardware and software do you use to create?
For pixel art I pretty much just use aseprite. I used to actually only do pixel work in piskelapp.com because I could mentally just “dip my toes in”, but once I ran into frame limitations with making animations there, I was like, ok it’s time to graduate to a big boi app. For music/sound stuff, I pretty much just stick to Logic Pro. Also I use premiere for finalizing and putting everything together. Hardware wise, I have a MacBook Pro. I was considering getting a desktop PC for blender at one point, but sticking with pixels has alleviated that decision (for now).
Anybody you want to shoutout?
I’d like to shoutout Artist John, for being a great art connoisseur (don’t know how to spell that) and a very early adopter of a very cool space. Also for interviewing me ha Shout out to everyone in the DataBeasts discord as well, honestly my favorite place to virtually hang.
Oh yeah, shout out to my sister for being an inspiration to me always, and never letting me quit. Peace and luv.