Teletext Art

Teletext Artist Spotlight: Rusty595

This new series aims to highlight past, present and future teletext artists, offering insight into their creative practice and personal connection to the world’s newest old medium.

First in the spotlight is Rusty595, whose ongoing teletext and pixel artworks are archived here.

“The flag is *really* pushing the limits of the medium.” –Rusty

Teletextart.co.uk: For the people out there in teletext land, how would you describe your artistic background?

Rusty: During secondary school I took GCSE Art and got into sprite editing, which led me to hack MS Paint to give the tools keyboard shortcuts so I could work more efficiently, and eventually I craved transparency support and learnt to use GIMP.

During my time at university studying computer games programming there were inevitably times when me/me and a team of more programmers needed art for a game. Being the most confident 2D artist on the team I made sprite edits or drew original pixel art, imposing arbitrary ‘authenticity’ restrictions on myself.

I learnt about http://edit.tf through something Mr Biffo retweeted at some point probably. Teletext art is a highly restrictive medium with weird quirks, and its being Very British and something I remember from my childhood meant I wanted to use it for something.

I felt it fit the aesthetic of my Twitter bot and back in January I commemorated it reaching 150 followers with a fake ‘test page’ containing its avatar, with a VHS filter applied so that it looked ‘more right’. That’s my artistic background leading to Teletext art.

I’ve also dabbled in vectors (taught myself Illustrator during Sixth Form), and hand-drawn cartoon shorts (and they *are* short) based on stick figure comics me and a friend drew in secondary school (I made the animations during university).

What have been the most difficult challenges of designing in teletext?

Representing intertwined fingers is something I’m never fully satisfied with. Someone requested an image with brown and dark green camo, that was also hard to translate to teletext.

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your work with us, Rusty! May your career be long a fruitful, and your pixels remain colourful.

  • You can see more of Rusty’s teletext art at his Twitter page.

Dan Farrimond

Head mad scientist at the UK Teletext Art Research Lab (TARL).

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