His Pixel Gifs Of Singapore Are Guaranteed To Bring Back A Wave Of Nostalgia


With the rise of digital painting, we’ve seen a number of talented local artistes – such as Jon, whom we spoke to previously.

Just like how Jon captures various scenes in Singapore, Elvin’s pieces involving Singaporean scenes have been making the rounds on various social media platforms. However, his art does not remain still, and comes in tiny pixels.

Elvin, a real estate agent by day, produces pixel art in the form of gifs. A former Interior Architecture and Design student from Temasek Polytechnic, Elvin’s adept skills at Photoshop CS6 has enabled him to present another perspective of the everyday view that we often take for granted.

Starting With MS Paint

Despite practicing pixel art for just over 2 years, Elvin shares that he loves to doodle and has been drawing “since I can remember!”

“When I was finally old enough to have access to a computer, I played around a lot on Microsoft Paint.”

This also led Elvin to apply for the Interior Architecture and Design course in Temasek Polytechnic School of Design after secondary school. He reveals that it was also around this period where he first stumbled upon pixel art on a microblogging and social networking site, Tumblr.

He instantly fell in love with the evening cityscapes and depictions of everyday life with subtle animations.

“They created this strange nostalgia in me for a moment – that I have never experienced. It’s weird and I still have trouble explaining what that feels like!”

Elvin started on his first piece, Synthwave Suntec, about 5 months ago. He knew that pixeling was something that he has been wanting into dive into, and his career allowed him some free time to try it out.

Down Memory Lane

One thing you can’t miss about Elvin’s work so far is that they’re all scenes of Singapore. With every artist that I’ve spoken to so far, those that focused on the local culture and other local aspects seem to have a great sense of patriotism. I wondered if it would be the same with Elvin.

It turns out that Elvin is personally very drawn to anything that takes him back to when he was growing up in the ’90s.

“I love that nostalgic feeling I get every time I see art from an old game I used to play, or listen to a soundtrack from a show I watched when I was younger.”

When he first discovered pixel art, he had tried to search for artists who did local scenery but to no avail. It was then that he decided that to try and create some of our hometown, picking scenes that he has seen while growing up.

Picking Favourites

The next comes one of the toughest bits – making the artist pick a favourite.

“It’s hard to pick, but if I had to, the one with the old man chilling at the HDB corridor would be one of my favourites.”

Elvin explains that although that piece might have taken the least time to finish because of its scale, he can “relate to that old fella in the picture because I do that a lot – looking out of the HDB. It’s a simple moment but I’m sure we’ve all done that in one way or another.”

Other than that, he also enjoyed working on the 537 Pasir Ris piece – he had just moved from that place and misses it a lot. In fact, Elvin has been staying in Pasir Ris all his life. His family moved 3 times within the neighbourhood. Having stayed in Pasir Ris for almost 20 years, he has a plethora of great memories.

He adds that when he was younger, there was also a period of time that he stayed with his aunt in Bedok, so he has “very fond memories” of that place too.

“The Suntec and Gateway pieces are just pieces of the Singapore Skyline that would catch my attention when I sat in my dad’s car, as he drove us towards town area for dinner on family night outs!”

Elvin laments that things in Singapore are changing rapidly and he tends to favor the older HDBs and office buildings that were here since he could remember. He adds, “they just bring an old charm that’s quite hard to describe.”

Lo-Fi And Coffee

On Elvin’s pixel art Facebook page, he shares that his art is “best enjoyed with some coffee and lo-fi hip hop ♫”. For this, Elvin recommends his go-to playlist for lo-fi hip hop, which you can check out here.

He reveals that he listens to this playlist a lot when he’s creating his artwork, and it helps get him in the mood to “catch some f e e l s .”

On top of that, his favourite coffee is “any coffee that my girlfriend makes for me!” Humorously, he adds: “that is the only right answer.”

Currently, Elvin’s trying to get better at selecting colours to work with – he says that it is arguably one of the hardest parts when it comes to creating a piece.

Another difficulty he faces is settling on his ideas, admitting that he constantly struggles to stick to a color palette that he spent an hour choosing, and adjusting his compositions because they just don’t ‘look right’.

He then refers to a quote from Misha Mansoor or Periphery, a musician that he looks up to. While Elvin may not remember the words accurately, it goes to the effect that a song can never really be finished – one keeps refining it till it’s due for release.  He adds, “it helps me when I think of things that way!”

“I am also very inspired by how photographers create interesting compositions in their photos.It’s something that I’m trying to get better at too.”

Looking Ahead

While he has only created a few pieces thus far, Alvin hopes to develop these two aspects in the future.

In fact, he’s currently planning to capture more iconic architecture in Singapore!

“As for LVN93, nothing is set in stone yet! Right now it’s just a passion project that I posted online and I’m really grateful for the love and support I’ve gotten from everyone so far.”

“My simple hope is to be able to continue creating art in my free time and share it with everyone!”