Last week, we asked Minecrafters to get creative by entering our Minecraft Mosaic Challenge and building murals throughout all of virtual Downtown Long Beach. The prize? To be “critiqued” a few days later by some artsy writer—that would be me—as well as reporter and Minecraft aficionado Valerie Osier, during our weekly live stream, last Wednesday.
Our virtual Office Hours-turned-art “critique” brought up the ties between mosaic creation in real life, as in arranging small tiles to form a larger design, and the arrangement of actual pixels, the stuff of which all of Minecraft is made. A handful of the murals were clearly inspired by existing POW! WOW! Long Beach murals from years past (We dropped in their real-life versions because why not compare?), while some were more perplexing, yet just as worthy of artistic merit and of course, heated discussion, i.e. Why is the milk gray?!
Judging your Minecraft Mosaic Challenge creations with Hi-lo reporter Asia Morris https://t.co/0b5byHZMck
— Long Beach Post (@LongBeachPost) July 29, 2020
A little background if you’re wondering what investment the Long Beach Post could possibly have in video games: Pre-pandemic, Office Hours was a wonderful, in-person shindig that had us sending reporters all over the city to meet and listen to readers. But since times are different now, we’ve had to find new ways to reach out and connect, video games being one of those ways, and just look how far we’ve come.
So, for those that missed the live stream, here are the mosaics in all their splendor to gaze upon, to critique, to scroll through, to admire. But honestly, all participants deserve a round of applause, since as Valerie explains, mosaic making in Minecraft is quite difficult.
“You kind of only have like blocks, there’s not much variation,” Valerie said. “It’s really hard to do very detailed murals in Minecraft because the more detailed you get, the bigger you have to get, so anything crazy massive is going to be ridiculous.”
Let the ridiculousness ensue:
1. DULK MURAL RE-CREATION
The minimal version of this masterpiece by Dulk for POW! WOW! Long Beach 2017 is spot-on: The reflection of the sunset in the ocean, the branch the toucan is perched upon, the eyes of the apple-headed archer on the bird’s back, the bird, the wondrous blue flying fish, it’s all there in pixelated, minimalist perfection.
2. MILK AND COOKIES BY COOLCOOKIES1156
So, Val had been at the grocery store, saw some cookies, and chose not to buy them, a sad memory that quickly surfaced when she first saw this mural.
“Art is successful if it makes you feel, or if it reminds you that you should have bought the cookies,” I said of the “chocolate chip oatmeal situation” before asking why the milk was gray.
3. PICHU BY ZIVADAVID700
The purple “Z” in this piece is not actually meant to depict a snoozing Pichu but is the artist’s signature. For those who aren’t familiar with Pokemon, Pichu evolves into Pikachu. It’s also worth noting those adorable pink spots on its cheeks are electric sacs, so don’t get too close or you may get shocked.
4. BLUE THE GREAT MURAL RE-CREATION
The original mural was painted by Blue the Great for PWLB in 2017, Val and I were happy to come upon its likeness recreated.
5. TELMOMIEL MURAL RE-CREATION
Created during PWLB 2016, this is still one of my favorite murals to date. You can see it just off The Promenade in both real-life Downtown Long Beach and now, virtual Downtown Long Beach. Telmo, from Amsterdam, and Miel, from Rotterdam, are two artists who began “TelmoMiel” in 2012 and began making murals together.
6. KAYLA MAHAFFEY MURAL RE-CREATION BY ROBTHEPIMASTER
Minecraft artist RobThePiMaster was present during the live stream to inform Val and me that this mural is of “a Black girl touching a star,” right after I misinterpreted the piece as an abstract piece of art. Sheesh. It’s located at the virtual Stevenson Elementary School where, in real life, there is an actual mural by artist Kayla Mahaffey, originally painted for PWLB 2019. This piece reminded Val of murals on school playground handball courts, while I asked if it was finished, and quickly determined that yes, that’s one of the most insulting questions you can ask an artist about their work. Way to go, Asia, and sorry Rob.
7. AVENGERS BY ZIVADAVID700
This is a hovering Avengers mosaic. Well done. That’s obviously what we were saying when this screenshot was taken, “well done.”
8. MOSAIC MARIO
Wouldn’t be surprised if Mario woke up and shuffled his way along this building; 10 out of 10 for this fan art.
9. MINECRAFT PICKAXE BY ZONALCHICKEN979
Not sure you can get more Minecraft-y than this.
10. A FISH BY VALERIE OSIER (ACCASHIA)
Clearly, I was impressed at Val’s mosaic making prowess (close your mouth, Asia). Val said user ZivaDavid700 helped her fill in the blue-tile background behind this gorgeous clownfish at the Aquarium of the Pacific. But that’s not all. I said how much I loved that Val used different patterns to represent fish scales; Val said that wasn’t her intention at all, and that “they just looked really pretty.”
Still, I had to ask, “Are you finished with that piece?” Because I’m rude, just plain rude.
11. LOVE AND PEACE
“That’s cute,” I said.
“That’s really cute,” Val agreed.
12. WEAR A MASK BILLBOARD BY ROBTHEPIMASTER
“This is the most important mural of them all,” Val said. “Wear a mask.”
Interested in joining our next Minecraft virtual Office Hours live stream? Tune in Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. (except for this Wednesday, we’re taking a little break this week) on Minecraft, Facebook, Twitch and YouTube. All the directions on how to sign up are below, and for more information on just how virtual Office Hours got started, click here.
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