Interview with Bobby Frye

Posted on September 05, 2015

Introduce your self - what's your name? What do you do? How long have you been creating stamps/ pixel art?

My name is Bobby Frye - I have been doing stamps for slightly under a year now, and pixel art for as long as I can remember!

What is the hardest obstacle that you have had to overcome?

Myself. A bit of a glib answer I know, but it's true. I had been stuck in a rut for a few years, working at the college, getting a PhD for no other reason than I didn't think I could get a job or exercise my skills. Now I have nothing against getting a PhD, in fact I think it's amazing, but I was doing it for the wrong reasons and not living up to either my practical or academic potential

What is your favorite piece that you've done so far?

I think if I had to go with a single piece, It would have to be the Odyssey project. We were tasked with recreating a scene from the Odyssey in a video game and pretty much everything from that project I loved. I got to meld this old video game style with just a ton of colors. I even got to animate the cyclops smashing sailors heads in (warning, some cartoonish gore) 

As for stamps, I really enjoy making them to suit very personal reasons - my favorite will always be a very simple Hopi sun stamp I made for a friend as her own personal symbol. It wasn't the most technically complex stamp, mainly just thick bars and lines, but it meant something big to her and that was super special to me.

Who are your influences? What about them inspires you?

Artistically, I like to say I came out of the school of Dada, I love how those artists would play with meaning and humor. I discovered surrealism at a very young age, so I don't know I really got a lot of the art at the time, but it tugged at me. There was something about this other world that the artist was creating that made sense to me, in all of the nonsense they were creating. I love this feeling of a 'different space' one governed by rules wholly different from our own. I think that is why I am always so drawn to video games. I really don't believe in the separation of high and low/commercial art, at the same time I am admiring Marcel Duchamp I am drawing influence from games such as Earthbound and comics like Doom Patrol.

What advice would you tell the future generations?

Be loving. Above all be loving. Love yourself, and love everyone else. Love the people who hurt you, even when it's hard. Don't let this stop you from fighting for what is right, what is true and what is necessary, but never stop loving.

What would you say your biggest accomplishment is to date?

I find my biggest accomplishment is the daily fact that i'm DOING IT. Im making art, and making a living off of doing it. Who knows what the future will hold? if in a year I have a part time job at starbucks it doesn't change the fact that right now I am doing it - that I made the risky choice, knowing that there was a huge potential for failure, knowing that I still have far far to go in art and knowing that I would not be happy unless I was creating art

What got you into pixel art? What do you find most challenging about pixel art?

I really have been creating pixel art since I had my first computer and opened ms paint, for me it was a byproduct of being in a space that could create. What really got me down that road was Gaia online, I would make costumes for my characters to wear.

What I find challenging about pixel art is a bandwidth issue - you only have so many pixels to convey an idea. if you have a vector image or even a physical drawing you can make a beautiful curving line that grows and shrinks but in pixel art you may have to do the same thing with only a few blocks.

How did you get into making stamps? What do you find challenging in creating stamps?

I started making stamps as a method to keep myself sane... I was doing the whole "unemployed job search" thing and I realized that I couldn't work all day on that or I would go bonkers. I had the supplies from years and years ago so I just got to work. It really revitalized and kept me going through a very difficult and emotionally challenging time.

What makes you the happiest?

Feeling that I did my all. Not necessarily my best, but that I didn't leave anything back. That feeling when you can step away from a project and have no regrets.

What is the hardest thing about owning your own company?

Balance. Knowing what time belongs to the company and what time belongs to you. I grew up feeling very driven academically (even when I would be constantly under performing, one of the downsides to adhd :P) and that combination of wanting to work and not being able to concentrate on work would often have me working on things in sprints and then goofing off for a short while before working again. What this left me is never having a feeling I was finished with anything and not ever fully being able to relax. This is a problem that i've taken with me into working for myself. It's a constant battle to say that this time is work-time and this time is taking-care-of-me time.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting a company?

Quite a lot! Be sure to be honest with yourself, and honest honest - not the honest where you go "well, im not THAT good". but don't let honest stop you from taking the risk.

Be aware of the twin forces of luck and hard work. You will often succeed because of forces far out of your control, and this is ok! Part of your job is to be prepared to make the most out of the opportunities that are given to you. Realize that not everyone has your opportunities, be aware of what you have.

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