That Retro Thing - Vintage and Retro Art Guide for Artists

 The Retro Revival

retro images and text
Back to the 80s, 90s, and every other decade ever!

In my last musing, we concluded my recent ‘Your Art Career’ series by unpacking crazy ideas to discover new niches. This week, we take one of those niches and unpack it in a lot more detail. So, sit back, grab a coffee, maybe even a packed lunch, and join me as we go on quite the trip back to the past with a retro revival!

The psyche of retro…

I have always been fascinated with the past, whether it is my own past and memories of my childhood back in the days when the responsibility monster didn’t enter the house through the letterbox disguised as a bill every morning, or whether I’m discovering an historic era that I had only ever read about in books or watched as a documentary on TV. The past fascinates me, or at least much of it does. I‘m much more into the 1960s onwards than I am about the 1860s unless we’re strictly talking about art and then I’m all in from about the 1400s. 

80s technology yin and yang art
Press Play On Tape, one of my latest creations that takes us back to the eighties! Part of my brand new Yin and Yang Collection!

I love looking back at the history that has been made during my own lifetime, the defining moments that have moved history along. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the space race, the cold war, the way people would use language differently in the 70s, even how people just a few decades ago imagined what the future might look like is something that fascinates me. Where’s my flying car? What really fascinates me is how our own pasts have been documented by artists and that sense that we really do have many shared experiences as a human race.

I am never happier than when I’m flipping through an old magazine, I love the slight aroma of childhood that emanates from the pages, I even love looking at the adverts because those were the days pre-the internet when a magazine would be the only way of finding out what the future held.  The magazine was a physical, hold in your hand experience, unreliant on an electricity supply to read it and you could take it anywhere.

Over the years I have become a magazine hoarder, retaining old computer magazines and those that would showcase the latest technology, and I’m unwilling to part with them for fear of losing memories.

Whenever I pick them up now, I’m intrigued by how much currency we gave to some technology which was billed as the next big thing only for it to then fizzle out within a few months after release. It’s surprising just how much technology got released only for a limited time and even more surprising just how many of us fell under its spell as early adopters.

I’m not so naïve as to think that my rose-tinted glasses of the past only ever show the world through a lens of positivity, there are periods of history in my own lifetime that I would sooner forget. All too often I have rediscovered something from my younger days only to find out that it wasn’t quite how I remembered it.

Some things, and even some places, maybe even some people really don’t age that well and the memories are often way better than the reality ever was. As we grow, our own expectations grow with us, life was much simpler back in the day, but was it really or were we just too young to realise that it wasn’t? We certainly didn’t have the distractions that we have today but neither did we have the access or convenience that we have today.

Whilst some of that old technology never sold very well, there is no denying that nostalgia sells. It always has but in the midst of a global pandemic, it’s perhaps even more of a comfort blanket than it ever has been before.

Whether it is artwork or a release of a new product that nods back to times gone by, people love to connect to their past, at least for the most part. One only has to take a look online to find out that something is about to be reinvented and reimagined or remixed for the 21st Century, and we can’t seem to get enough of these revivals, remixes, and anniversary editions.

From classic games consoles that have now been miniaturised and include dozens of original video games that we would once have played throughout our childhood, right the way through to folding cell phones that take the concept of the original flip phone and pretty much destroy it. It’s like everyone is looking to the past, probably in the hope of fixing the future.

80s technology artwork
Tear Down This Wall - another one of my 80s works, but can you spot more than 100 references to the eighties? They're all there, even if they're not immediately obvious!! Even world events of the age are referenced in this work.

According to psychologists, there’s a lot more going on than us simply hankering after days gone by. Scientists believe that nostalgia is important in building emotional resilience, looking back at memories of the past can help you to visualise a more positive future.  

Hearing a sound, seeing an image, or smelling something, or just remembering past times or actively participating in something that we had fond memories of doing in a bygone era can remind us of our early life experiences, either good or bad.

These experiences and feelings trigger the brain's built-in reward centre which then fires the neurotransmitters that are involved in pleasure and salience. This produces dopamine and gives us a pleasurable hit. So, it seems as if we don’t just like nostalgia, we actively crave it so we can experience what can only be called a high. I find this remarkable given that nostalgia was once thought to be a disease that needed to be cured.

More and more of us are looking for that nostalgia hit too. Since the start of the pandemic there has been a resurgence in retro video gaming with prices of vintage gaming consoles and home computers skyrocketing on platforms such as eBay. A 1980s video game console might have cost around $50 (or around £50 UK) a little more than a year ago, but since the beginning of the pandemic, those on offer today are being badged as being either rare or ‘super-rare and having some kind of imaginary retro tax applied.

It’s not that unusual to see an old video games console up for sale on an auction website for the buy it now price of hundreds of dollars when pre-pandemic and certainly a year or so earlier, the very same system could have been picked up for around a fifth of the price and before that, for even less, at one time they were almost being given away.

Sellers are selling the hit, not just the product and they’re using tactics such as labelling them as super-rare to give us a sense of urgency and scarcity, it’s the classic marketing model. Except of course they’re not that rare, or at least most of them aren’t but that doesn’t stop us buying into the hype when everyone else is clambering to buy the same thing.

fabric art depicting art and craft supplies
Art Supplies - one of my recent works and yes, there are nods to the eighties in this piece too! Anyone else remember those tubes of school glue, the steel ruler, safety scissors and the mandatory sewing class!

Plenty of these allegedly rare systems still exist in working condition in attics around the world, but what has happened is that people are seeing the resurgence of retro as a way to sell that dopamine hit and a childhood memory that we’re all craving for, and because most folk might not have seen something on the retail shelves for a while and the assumption is that there are fewer of whatever about.

Some thirty million Atari 2600 video computer systems were sold back in the golden days of video gaming and whether they’re working or not today, they still exist in big numbers so they’re not rare, even working ones are just not that rare, these things were way better built than we build things today. What is rare is for someone to clean out the attic at the time that you want to buy one. If people stopped falling for this for a while, I am confident the market would level back off to how it was in more sensible, precedented times.

Surprisingly, the genuine vintage technology dealers will mostly be selling this stuff at much more reasonable prices than individuals will be selling it for, but at a time when we’re all looking for a safety blanket, the warm fuzzy feeling of positive childhood memories together with that dopamine hit, well, it’s probably enough to convince us that we need to place much higher bids than anything is really worth.

Who buys retro?

Today, I’m not entirely sure there is even a specifically defined audience for retro, certainly not in the same way it could be defined a few years ago. Back then, I would have said that retro was very much an almost fifty-thing, which might sound stereotypical and as if it was linked to some kind of mid-life crisis, but retro a few years ago was a very different market. At that time, the market for anything retro was tied to a specific subject, event, or time, with a very specific demographic aligned to each, retro was niche and it was often a small niche.

As we age, our own retro reality and what we have the fondest memories of ages along with us. What’s retro or vintage to me isn’t necessarily going to be retro or vintage to someone older or younger or even the same age, and millennials are buying into retro and vintage just as much as anyone else.

Retro isn’t age exclusive, and neither is it exclusive to a specific thing. Retro is on-trend and appeals to a much wider demographic than it once did and it’s constantly changing, what wasn’t retro yesterday is suddenly highly collectable today.

Millennials have their own version of retro which you would think would be very firmly rooted in the nineties and noughties, but millennials are buying retro-inspired creations that depict everything from the cold war to the 1950s. Retro in the 21st Century, it seems, has a very broad appeal and I don’t think we can any longer categorically say that the market for any retro work is definitely more of this and less of that for any particular demographic. I am constantly surprised by clients of all age groups who are now buying some of my retro works that would once only appeal to a very specific group of collectors.

Whilst more defined markets exist for certain retro subjects, the market isn’t necessarily now limited to only those looking for a specific subject. Retro is a style that people can buy into regardless of the subject matter, and people do seem to be buying into eras as much as anything that went on or was available within them. If you have a fifties home décor theme going on, then anything that ties into that fifty’s era is fair game to add some authenticity to the décor.

Retro, vintage, what’s the difference?

What it perhaps comes down to for an artist wanting to produce retro-inspired works is whether the style you are creating is a nod to the past with some artistic licence or an authentic recreation that might not fit quite so well with modern décor, something a little more detailed, a little more authentic, less of a nod to the past, more very much just like the past.

If I had to break the demographics down in such a granular way, those might be the two most distinct areas of retro I would say could be more defined and be more applicable to specific demographics. I think today, you’re either creating authentic or decorative retro and you might or might not focus on a specific subject, what you will be more focussed on is that the work fits with a particular era and you will inevitably find a style and an era that suits your ability as an artist.

I think what we can say about retro is that, if you were ever looking for a niche that appeals to the broadest section of society, you essentially have two choices. Food which we buy to survive or nostalgia that we buy to remember, and sometimes even those two things are linked.

The Language of Retro…

Whilst there is plenty of material in the genre of retro that can keep an artist in work forever, retro can be an incredibly challenging artistic genre to pull off. What we tend to see with a lot of retro work today is a nod to a period in time that relies on artistic licence rather than any kind of authentic presentation, but the description of the work might be nuanced towards the wrong demographic and it fails to gain traction in any market. In short, whilst it is a broad market, you can still miss the mark when it comes to marketing the work.

Retro-inspired along with artistic licence is a trend, it’s faux, mainly decorative, and perhaps doesn’t provide the viewer with the same kind of dopamine hit in the way that something more authentic would, but it is the nod to the past that a specific retro viewer is looking for and it very much has a market. For me, I think this falls into a category of functional art, it generally has a very specific purpose, although not always.

That kind of decorative, faux retro has a place, but for an artist looking to create authentic retro pieces that are perhaps better described as vintage, it’s important to realise that those who are genuinely looking to reconnect with the past are more likely to be sticklers for detail, they want authenticity, they want the work to give them a snapshot of the past that they can connect with and they will be looking for that dopamine hit that will scratch their itch for nostalgia.

Having said that, it is possible to add some artistic licence to more historically accurate pieces but, in this instance, the trigger of nostalgia will be more reliant on the story the work tells. A good retro artist is also a storyteller, and unfortunately, not every artist can tell a story which is why retro can be challenging to pull off convincingly.

Retro can be a confusing genre to work in. Whilst some people want a retro-inspired piece that fits in with modern surroundings, other people look for much more authenticity. It can be challenging for an artist to create retro work if they aren’t specific enough about what they want to create, the work risks becoming either nor. Either they’re creating a piece that nods back to a period in time, or they’re producing an authentic retro experience filled with authenticity and I think those styles of retro artworks are two very different things that can sometimes be confused.

I think it stems from the interchangeability of the terms vintage and retro. Retro is really something that is new that imitates something from the past, it’s something that can have much more in the way of artistic licence applied to it. Vintage on the other hand is something old and original, and where this gets recreated, the devil, as they say, is really in the detail because it is much more of a recreation of original. It’s also a matter of timing, retro can describe anything from twenty years or more ago but that’s subjective, vintage is older and can also be described as antique depending on just how old it is.

Getting the terminology correct is really important, creating a vintage-inspired work and labelling it as retro will miss the market for vintage, equally, labelling a work as vintage but giving it a retro-inspired makeover is something that you could actually create, but there is yet another market that exists for that particular style of work.

There is also a vibrant fine art market for scenes of the past or where the work tells a compelling story that triggers a memory within the viewer. Retro is acutely more diverse than many other artistic subjects in the direction that the artist can take it, but you do need to be specific about what you have created and I think there is a difference between painting history and painting retro.

As confusing as it seems, I’m possibly oversimplifying things a little, there are way more nuances between the terms vintage and retro and it is very much down to individual interpretation as much as anything else especially when it comes to what gets classed as being retro, vintage, or antique. Ask some people and vintage should only ever be used to describe the age of wine which stems from the French word Vendage, meaning ‘the grapes picked during a season’.

I think it’s all about the timing. if you are trying to recreate a particular look or feel, it’s really important that you get the language that describes and identifies the piece correct, but it’s also critical if you are aiming to give something a genuinely authentic aesthetic, that you also carry out some research and absolutely nail the detail so that you’re creating what would have been present at, and of the time.

8 bit art duck on water
Strictly not 8-bit, this image is created using 32 x 32 pixels so would have been used in 16 bit and later, 32-bit systems. Grab some graph paper, spilt it into 8x8 or 16x16 grids and then tell a story within the grid. It's a great way to sharpen your storytelling and your creativity! It's lots of fun too!

My own experience of creating ‘retro’ stems back to the eighties, except back then it wasn’t so much retro, it really was cutting edge. I had a small modicum of success in creating video game art, or more specifically, the sprites that would be used as characters in video games, although I had slightly less success with a game I produced, but which did get published. I was producing digital art way before even Warhol made it trendy, the difference is that I wasn’t anywhere near as good at marketing, nothing changes, I guess!

Surprisingly, my work in this area has never stopped. Whilst the way I produce digital art is very different today, I’m still serving a market of retro game fans with arcade cabinet art and covers for homebrew games on the original home computers, rather than the immensely detailed environment and concept art that you might find in modern games that create the look and feel of an entire world which tend to be created by teams of dozens of artists.

As for those chunky eight by eight pixelated sprites, I still get asked to create them, usually as posters to hang in retro-inspired spaces and not just in stereotypical man-caves. I get commissions from female gamers and retro fans too, and occasionally I also get commissions from homebrew coders who just don’t have the time to produce character sets or when they need cover art for their latest game that runs on original hardware. For some works, I still utilise the original hardware to create the images which makes me sound like a technology hoarder and I think it’s fair to say I am. When my vintage home computers are all buzzing away it can feel like walking into one of those independent high street computer retailers in 1982.

I’m often more than happy to take those kinds of commissions on, even out of love sometimes. First, I’m a retro gamer, second, I’m still living in the eighties, and because it’s important to protect the legacy of the golden age of home computing and video games. We should never forget just how vital the likes of Atari were to modern-day computing, not just gaming. The internet wouldn’t be anything like the same as it is today had it have not been for the likes of Atari and Commodore bringing this technology into the home.

Know Your Era…

Selecting an era to base your retro-inspired ideas on might be down to the artistic style you feel more comfortable with creating than your passion for any particular era. If we take a look back through the decades since the fifties, every one of them could easily be defined by very specific and very different styles.

The rounded corners of kitchen appliances in the fifties, the unexpected colour combinations of the sixties with an almost futuristic feel to both architecture and furniture. That sixties and seventies architecture that had so much utility seems to be coming back post-pandemic with many organisations now focussing on the environmental benefits of refurbishment rather than rebuild, and the more recent migration away from open office spaces and hot desks which are now being seen as harbours of infection. Finally, we might get our own offices back but this time with a soap dispenser hung next to the door.

Who could forget the seventies and the groovy bright colours which always seemed to be accented with a mustard hue? The eighties, with its shoulder pads and neon-lit shopping malls, always take me back to my childhood, whereas the nineties, at least for me, was defined by knotted pine and the purple walls found in the TV show Friends.

I find that getting an authentic sixties vibe down on canvas is especially challenging but give me a project that’s based on the eighties and I am well and truly in my comfort zone as you can probably guess. Despite being born right at the very end of the sixties, my passion for the eighties is, I think it’s fair to say, bordering on the almost obsessive. Perhaps stemming from both fond memories of the decade and a couple of years working on almost nothing but Cold War inspired artworks and props for period theatrical plays and of course, creating those images that would jump around in video games, the eighties for me were great days.

recreated documents vintage letters
Getting the fonts, papers, and typography correct is just so important when working on props, here's an earlier selection. Not sure which, if any, of these ever got used, but I do remember getting paper cuts from cutting out the tickets. Lots of research and photo references involved!

If you are lucky enough to be able to apply your artistic style to your favourite era, that really helps with recreating the authentic vibe that collectors and buyers yearn for, but I don’t think it’s necessarily easy to force a particular artistic style if you’re not already comfortable in creating it. I think that goes with any artistic endeavour, you have to be comfortable first and then develop from there.

From Feel to Font!

When creating a retro or vintage-inspired artwork from whatever era, there are a few things that are worth considering that will add more of an authentic touch to your work.


Whilst every era can be identified by its design style, every era also had its own texture. The texture becomes really important when you are producing any kind of historically based reference. The small rip or tear or the crumpled page can age a design so that it becomes more authentic, but it can also make a piece feel less mass-produced.

One of the most versatile techniques used in digital art lends itself perfectly to creating retro inspired textures. The use of texture images laid down as overlays and then blended into the background using the overlay tool, can mean that you can even age a digitally created work rather than having to rely on finding the right physical medium to print or produce the work on.

using overlay tool in Procreate App on iPad Pro
Add a texture image above the image you need to create the effect on, size it, or use the clipping mask to only apply it to the layer directly beneath, and then go to the transparency menu and select overlay or one of the other blending effects. 

overlay tool in procreate on palm tree image
A flat image will now have texture. You can also build up textures by repeating the process and merging the layers in between. It takes a little practice but Procreate on the iPad Pro makes it very easy. Similar results can be achieved in Photoshop too.

Shading, noise, and slightly blurred backgrounds can be used to great effect to create some beautiful textures, add depth and provide that aged shade look that many retro and vintage works have. Adding a border can make a modern creation appear aged, but there is one technique that is often never applied to a retro or vintage work, and that is the technique of keeping things simple.

Choose any decade pre-the noughties, and you will find that images tend to be much simpler than they are today. The tools to create pseudo-3D effects didn’t really exist and when they did, they were inaccessible to all but the biggest corporations who could afford that kind of technology.

If you are looking to recreate authenticity in a work, that’s kind of an important detail to remember and it’s also refreshing to have to limit your toolset to roughly what would have been available to create the work at the time, even if you are creating the work digitally. Lately, I have been noticing more and more of my artist friends looking towards techniques such as silk screen printing and finally finding a use for those skills we learned in school. Anyone remember mixing those powder poster paints and where they even safe?


When you are working with both vintage and retro-inspired works, typography plays a key role. Adding a modern font to a period piece will completely destroy the vibe of the time you are aiming to recreate. Here’s a quick run down to give you an idea around the time period that is generally tied into fonts.


Morris Fueller Benton’s News Gothic is a sans serif font that can also be found in the opening text scroll of Star Wars. Anything from around 1910 might though be better suited to Johnston, which is classified as a humanist san-serif font.

1920 – another humanist sans-serif font called Gill Sans could be used, at least until we get to the 1930s when the Times New Roman style would be found in newspapers. Text similar in style to the Fairfield (serif) font would have been popular in film during the 1940s, but when we get to the 50s, the san-serif Univers would have a much more authentic feel.

The 1960s as we head towards the era of the Space Race would be more attuned to using something like the geometric sans-serif, Eurostile but as we travel in time to the 70s, then something like ITC Avant Garde would be reminiscent of the typography of the period.

If you need something different from the seventies, there is plenty of choice with many styles spilling over into the eighties. Mouse, Bauhaus Geomet, (other Bauhaus fonts were typical of the time too), Helvetica, Menhir, and Futura, could be used for 70s inspired works, but an Aki Lines style was often found in anything related to music during that particular decade and it is now reappearing in more recent titles.

The eighties were a real mixed bag of typography, Avenir is perhaps one font that could be used for most things of the age, but neon effects were really coming into their own by this point. In the 90s, particularly if you are recreating signage, then Meta, another humanist sans-serif font is useful to have in your library.  The eighties also dominated popular culture and video game inspired fonts such as Pac Font, Arcade Classic, Sabo, VCR OSD, and Bayshore which can all give your work a much more authentic feel.

Retrofuturism which we briefly touched on in my last article became really popular again in the eighties, Stargaze and Paralines are two beautiful fonts that deserve to be seen in any retro-futuristic work from that era.  As I suggested last time, take a look at Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland as a shining example of retro-futurism, it’s an essential field trip for any retro-futuristic artist and I still want to become a Disney Imagineer when I grow up. You can also check it out on YouTube.

Dope, Spot, Hanover, Vogue, Samson, were popular in the 1990s, and 1995 saw the introduction of my all-time-least favourite font, Comic Sans. Some love it, I’m afraid I’m not one of them, and it was designed for a specific reason that isn’t a reason to still use it today. A program called Microsoft Bob used speech bubbles to communicate with young computer users, but it also used Times New Roman, which designer Vincent Connare thought wasn’t accessible, so he came up with Comic Sans instead.

Although Comic Sans wasn’t ready in time for the release of Microsoft’s Bob, it instead became the font of Microsoft Publisher, appeared as a font in Windows 95 and was seen as a font that wasn’t confrontational so was used in company branding, a little too often. I recently found some business cards picked up from a trade show from a decade ago and nine of the ten had used Comic Sans. Even back then, this really wasn’t a good design choice that I could get behind.

Today, as a font, it’s divisive, it probably has a place, but I have no idea where that place might be, yet I know a few people who love it and continue to use it. Honestly, not a fan but it has got people talking about fonts I guess which is remarkable in itself because a few years ago I would never have put money on anyone ever having a conversation about fonts outside of a design agency. I digress, let’s get back to it.

Gotham style typography became popular in the 2000s, and nothing really changed until the end of the decade when Open Sans style typography became more prevalent.

A font choice, particularly when it is being used in a retro-inspired design, can make, or break not just the artwork, but the entire era the work represents. I don’t think I could ever imagine a font such as Comic Sans being used on a 60s album cover from Jimi Hendrix or David Bowie, it just wouldn’t capture the era let alone the music and it certainly wouldn’t match the period. So just as you do with texture, you really do have to research the fonts of the period if you intend to use fonts at all.

One piece of font-astic advice, and please forgive the pun because it was intended because I just came up with that and it made me laugh, is that you should never skimp on font licencing. Using professional fonts rather than relying on utilising the ‘almost but not quite’ era-correct fonts that can be found in free font libraries, is worth the additional expense. It sometimes feels like everyone uses open-source fonts that tend to lead to works either losing their historical accuracy or works that can begin to appear samey. The right font will elevate the work above every other piece that uses those more generic variants and it’s generally a wise investment even if it is a little more expensive. The world is full of font-snobs who can spot the difference between a free font and something that costs a little money. Don't skimp on these things, they're important!

Colour Pallets…

If fonts can elevate a piece, they still can’t quite match the power that using the correct colour pallet can bring to a retro-inspired creation. A colour pallet alone can conjure up memories of certain times. The eighties were perhaps renowned for bright pinks and purples and metallic gradients, the seventies were garish but applying the correct and historically most accurate colour palette to any retro creation can be the difference between a viewer being transported back to an era or walking right on past the work.

purple colour palette
80s Purple Pallet

silver colour pallet
Silver 80s Pallet

blue colour pallet
80s Blues Colour Pallet

green colour pallet
80s Green Colour Pallet

Again, this really comes down to carrying out some research, exploring the colour pallets of the time and then experimenting. One of the things I do frequently with some of my digital work once I have completed it, is to take the original files and then recolour them with different pallets. The muted 50s inspired artwork recoloured to convey the neon eighties can look like two entirely different creations which can be quite the mind-bender at times producing some really interesting and creative effects.

Researching Retro…

I’m one of those kinds of people who have to research everything, but the amount of research I do is often determined by the passion I have for the subject. I might spend a couple of hours with my head in a book or glued to a screen but give me a subject I can become super-enthused about and the research can last for weeks, months, and sometimes even years.

My passion for digital art started in 1981, although arguably, it might have been 1980 which is officially when I took my first digital commission for some scrolling text to appear on a display screen, in part, because I was a bedroom coder, read geek, and in part because I was cheap enough to hire, I would only need to cover the cost of a new computer game on a cassette tape and have enough change for some pick ‘n’ mix sweets. My trip down the rabbit hole of researching digital art still continues to this day.

Retro is a broad subject, and I’m using the term retro quite loosely here to describe vintage and every other variation. Depending on what retro route you decide to follow will determine where you will find the best research resources. But, researching retro isn’t just about scouring websites or flicking through magazines and books from the past, the best research will come directly from those who experienced the era you are following, so there’s ample opportunity for face-to-face discussion with this subject.

One pointer I think is important to mention is that when you do research retro, it’s probably a better idea to avoid directly researching retro-inspired artworks. There will be too many influences from the artists who created the work and often, rather than authenticity, you will start to see the work through the lens of a particular artist and that in itself can be quite influential in what you go on to create. We become influenced by what we’re exposed to, so my advice is to go straight back to the original source, do your own research, and be inspired by original rather than someone else’s interpretation of original.

With a subject that looks back to the past, it should be your own interpretation or your own research that is depicted on canvas, otherwise, you run the risk of producing artwork that feels very samey. The retro-inspired artwork market is already filled with art that is already just like that and whilst nostalgia sells, not every piece of retro inspired work will and less so when much of it looks so similar.

Once you have a subject in mind, there are plenty of resources around, and there are plenty of vibrant communities too. Podcasts exist for every subject under the sun these days, but you might want to also check out older web-based forums, even those that remain online but are no longer active. There are still some enthusiastic communities for Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, and later the Garbage Pail Kids, and some really bizarre subjects that no one would have thought would still have an active community in the 21st Century, yet they do. Pick any of your favourite toys from your childhood and I can almost guarantee that you will find a community of fans still talking about it.

One of my go-to resources is the Way Back Machine which lets you take a look back at web pages just as they looked at the specific time they were captured. Many were captured years ago, almost at the start of the internet as we recognise it today, and there are abandoned pages and websites aplenty, even when the website owners have long given up on their one time hopes and dreams for web-based stardom. It’s a digital archaeologists dream and it allows you to really explore retro in ways that books or a general scour of the internet just cannot match.

I would think you can safely assume that by now, every subject has a webpage, or did at one time have a webpage, because more than 552 billion pages exist on the site. It is another deep, deep, rabbit hole and you do need to be prepared to spend some not insignificant time getting a taste of what authentic really looked like back in the day.

In my previous article, I gave a shout out to a few retro video games podcasts, and if vintage and retro gaming is something that you might feel inclined to stretch towards, a word of advice from someone who has been involved with retro gaming since 70s and 80s gaming was cutting edge, is to absolutely do the best research that you can.

Retro gamers are an unforgiving bunch and can be harsher than any professional art critic over the minutest of details. I know this because not only am I a retro and vintage gamer with a history of having a little involvement in the industry during the early days, I’m also obsessive about detail, just like many retro games collectors are. It’s no different to any historic subject that gets depicted in art, wherever fans exist, there will be an element of hardcore fans who really do expect a high level of historical accuracy.

The Cultural Importance of Video Games in Art…

Video games might not be a subject that interests you, perhaps you might pick up your phone or tablet from time to time and have a casual play on something, but if you are interested in art, video game art isn’t something that only appears as bits and pixels in the actual game, it has a huge following and it’s highly collectable.

Video game art is an entire movement that is widely ignored outside of gaming and retro communities, but it is an essential piece of the jigsaw in art education because it has major crossovers with marketing and design. It is essentially an entire art education in itself so even if you have no personal truck with games, the art of video games is one that will both enrich and inform your current level of art understanding regardless of the artistic style that you follow. It should absolutely be a staple in any art curriculum because it is a one-stop-shop of everything art. Forget the subject matter, this is how the art business works when it comes to product promotion and design.

In video games themselves there is an element of in-game art, entire worlds are beautifully created using both traditional and digital artists skills and when we look at the retro games’ scene more broadly, an entirely new art market springs up that is both fascinating and a source of constant surprise even to this day.

The research for older video games is fascinating from all sorts of perspectives. An enthusiastic and vibrant art market exists for the artwork that appeared on arcade cabinets and cabinet marquees back in the early to mid-eighties, and from the box art and advertising that went along with any new home computer and video console releases.

Think back to the days of Atari, Intellivision and Coleco, and way before Nintendo and Sega, and what you will find is a fascinating glimpse into an often-forgotten art world, or at least forgotten in a mainstream sense but some of the artists creating the images at the time went on to do great work and today their original works are highly collectable and eye wateringly expensive to buy.

Video game box art
Atari video game box art, just like the arcade game cabinets had to pull in a crowd of eager paying players. The art had to tell a story and the artists were masters of their craft. Image used as a reference, all rights belong to the rights holder and artists.

Artists such as John Enright, Susan Jaekel, Cliff Spohn, and George Opperman were the very artists that got me into art in the first place, as did the work of fantasy artist Oliver Frey, a little later. Ollie is a Brit who created the art for home computer magazines. Spohn, Opperman, and Jaekel were the artists who also designed those wonderful boxes that Atari games would be packaged in and the side art that appeared on arcade cabinets which would either be vinyl or hand-painted usually with stencils.  

Those images told stories that the games themselves certainly couldn’t convey with their limited blocky graphics. In hindsight, they were often masterpieces of storytelling which we can now learn from even if the subject matter doesn’t appeal to you.

Not only did their work have to convey a story, but it also had to appeal to a broad swathe of the public. Listen to those who were around at the time and they will tell you that it was the artwork that supported the games that would convert the nation’s youth into gamers, one quarter at a time. It was a strategy to utilise the artwork to attract paying players and it succeeded. We exchanged money for games based on how excited we were by the art on the cover or on the side of the arcade cabinet, everything really was about how appealing the design could be made.

Let that sink in for a moment because as a ten-year-old, that is exactly what got me excited about art and I would think that for a lot of ten-year-olds of the time, visiting the arcades and seeing the artwork was one of the few times beyond the school trip to an art gallery that kids would be exposed to artwork, and they appreciated it. I remember having conversations with school friends about colour, and how crisp the images were on specific cabinets, not fully understanding that this was down to the printing process. Ten-year-olds were having conversations about art, I think we might have lost that.

portrait of a woman in computer graphics
A portrait recreated using the Commodore Amiga A500 and Delux Paint. Notice the scan lines of the CRT monitor and the more vibrant glow than you would get from a modern LCD or OLED display. It will look much better on a CRT display than it does here even though that will not be in anything like HD resolution.

No publisher, or at least very few were able to create screenshots of the games on the packaging and when they did it was almost always from a better system, so it was always down to the artwork to bring the players closer to the arcade game or to the home version. It was the artwork that told the story and filled in the gaps that the graphics and even the gameplay couldn’t.

That art was magnetic, it had to attract a buyer from a distance, and it did, it was bold, and there was a certain aesthetic about it that still feels just as on-point today. The games could never sell the games in the way that the artwork did, art managed to create an entire global industry from what people had initially said was just one of those trends that will pass.

There is significant cultural importance in covering this subject, lots more people from the industry of the time should be coming back and writing about it, especially as the publishers of the games from the late 70s and right the way through to the noughties, were never very good at archiving or documenting their work. Instead, it is often left to the likes of retro collectors and enthusiasts to document what is really an important industry and many of those who were involved at the time are edging ever closer to no longer being around.

Commodore 64 art beach scene pixel art
Work in progress on a working Commodore 64 vintage computer system. Recreating a beach scene, this is coded using BASIC, Beginners All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. In itself, a long lost art, there aren't many of us BASIC programmers left!

Culturally, the video games industry has been responsible for so much development in the way of computing and gaming. There will, I hope, be a time when eighties home computers and the golden age of video games will be taught alongside other subjects of historical importance, but the art should be revered given the task that it achieved.  

It’s similar to other retro subjects. Marketing had to be exactly on-point for any product to reach an audience, there was no internet, everything relied on print media, TV, and word of mouth or the product packaging. If the product didn’t have that all-important ‘I need it’ factor, the product wouldn’t find its market. The art hooked us, it’s what sold the product.

Nailing down the authenticity…

When it comes to recreating authenticity, we might be well served to look towards the more nefarious characters who have been involved with the art industry or at least have been involved in the shadows of the art industry. The dark side of the art world, one of fakes and forgeries isn’t just fascinating in a kind of intriguing way, it is an area that we can learn from when it comes to recreating authenticity.

Whilst I would never condone anyone forging a painting, I’m not so certain we can just cast aside the obvious skill that some of these master forgers have. You simply cannot buy authenticity, but you can sure as nails fake it.

I would like to say that I am savvy enough to be able to spot a fake at fifty paces, except I’m not, and neither are many of the major galleries around the world who either knowingly have forgeries within their collections or who are totally in the dark about the origins of some of their assets. I dare say that those who do know are more likely to keep their lips well and truly sealed, not only would it be embarrassing for a major gallery to say they have it wrong, but it would also shoot a hole right through the fine art market, just as it has done whenever forgeries have been exposed.

I have seen forgeries up close, right next to originals and if I had to rely only on the naked eye, I would wager a bet that even with a 50/50 probability of spotting the fake, most people would choose the forgery as the original. The authenticity of a forgery is something of a learnable skill, how well you perform that skill comes down to experience and how well the provenance is forged to go with it and how much of a convincing storyteller, the seller is.

What we can take away from the criminally-minded masters of the present day who recreate the old masters of the past is some of the techniques employed to age works and add details that the naked eye will be drawn to. Extremely useful if we’re considering a career move into retro and vintage art where authenticity is key but be mindful that doing anything even remotely slightly outside of legal isn’t something that I would recommend you do, even in the name of art.

video game arcade artwork
Flaking paint on the doors, signage, screws, stone detail and weeds, just some of the extra detail I always tend to put into works, whether it is needed or not! This is my latest creation, New Game Day, a massive nod to summer in the 80s.

Know your pigment…

Even though much of my work today is digitally created, that hasn’t always been the case and right now I can literally touch three canvases I’m working on as I keep my traditional skills honed and the commissions flowing. In short, if you are going down the retro rabbit hole then knowing what materials were used in original pieces is vital information to have if you are looking to recreate authenticity if it is to be believable.

If you are looking to recreate something pre-nineteenth century then it’s worth knowing that it wasn’t until the 19th Century that industrial manufacturers began to produce commercial studio-grade oil paints. It wasn’t until 1953 that acrylic paint would be used and the very first of these were actually wall paints rather than artist paints.

Artists would need to mix their own paints prior to this, and it wasn’t inexpensive to do this even then. Nothing ever changes with art supplies, does it? It wasn’t so much that the paint itself was expensive to produce but the pigments used in the paints often had to be imported. Some artists would use a siccative or extenders to make the paint go further, and they are often used today, mainly in the form of barium sulphate and alumina hydrate because neither of which have too much effect on the tint.

Forgers realise this and will go to painstaking lengths to recreate an almost exact pigment, but for authentic vintage recreations you can mostly and thankfully take the less onerous route of using modern commercial studio-grade paints, although if you do need a little more authenticity, it might be worth experimenting with mixing or adding in an extender.

Supports, paper and canvas…

When selecting the support, be it paper, canvas, wood, or whatever medium of the period, there are techniques you can apply to give the support an aged look. When I create artwork props or documents, one of the things I always make sure I have to hand is some aged paper stock.

There are various ways of ageing, at one time I would leave paper out in a sunlit area so that it became naturally yellowed from UV light, the issue with that is that once this process begins to happen, it is a process that then continues to degrade the medium and there’s little if anything that can be done to prevent it.

Expert forgers will look for canvases and papers of a similar age may be produced in a similar region to the canvas that the work originally appeared on and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that master forgers would buy quite expensive artworks only to remove the original paint and then recreate the old master on the now fresh but appropriately aged and historically accurate canvas. There’s even some anecdotal evidence to suggest that some forgers have done this and inadvertently removed a painting that had a much higher monetary value then the work they were about to forge.

Depending on the exact level of historical accuracy though, a seventies canvas print that probably will never have any aesthetic, collectable or financial appeal might be the way to create something even more authentic, but there are easier ways to age a canvas that will suffice for most retro or vintage-inspired works unless you have a local thrift store, in which case looking out for vintage frames and supports is something that is definitely worth considering.

Ageing a modern canvas can be done with diluted bleach by applying it to the back of the panel to give it the brittle feeling that you would get when you touch an authentically aged work. If you then add a mixture of umber and paint thinner together with the liquid from soaked coffee grinds after straining them through a sieve, and then rub into the canvas in circular motions, the ageing effect is quite convincing. I have seen this done with soil and even sand which also provides some natural abrasion.

On the front of the canvas, a 75/25 mixture of thinner together with a mix of umber will provide a nice, antiquated effect and if you rub either walnut oil or the same mix that you applied on the back of the canvas into any exposed wood, the finished piece will be completely transformed into something that just feels really old and fragile but is still much less fragile than the original might be.

Remember though, when you are recreating authentic vintage or retro pieces, whilst the purist collectors of vintage will be sticklers for detail, there’s still a great deal of artistic licence that you can get away with. You’re not in the business of forging artwork, your job is to provide the smoke and mirrors that trigger the nostalgia hit the viewer is looking for. The trick is in making the viewer believe what they are seeing, and arguably, that’s exactly what art forgers do too!

Some vintage work really does need to have a stressed effect for it to be convincing. Sandpaper to gently scratch paint away from wood or whatever medium the work is created on is a nice way to provide a subtle stress effect, and you can round the corners of works which is something that would naturally occur to artwork over time.

If you need to create cracks in the paint, you can either wait for fifty years or so, more in the case of most modern paints or you could just use Elmer’s Glue with a thin layer for hairline cracks and a thicker layer for larger and deeper cracks. If you then apply a top coat of flat latex paint in a different colour over the glue and then cure it with gentle heat, it is an inexpensive way to produce a believable cracked paint effect.

Alternatively, you could opt for a crackle medium, but these can work out to be quite expensive and if you are anything like me whenever you visit the art supply store, you might decide to spend the GDP of a major country on a range of all of the professional mediums that are specifically designed to apply vintage or stressed effects.

way back machine website screenshot
The Wayback Machine at is a rabbit hole that you might never leave! An outstanding source of discovering retro!

For antique glazed effects, I tend to steer away from ready mixed-effects mediums and instead mix raw umber, burnt sienna, and a dark brown together. You might want to experiment with your own ratios for this, but the effect can be much better controlled than you would be able to achieve with a pre-mixed medium and you can always add thinner to the mix if you want something more transparent. I tend to use this on projects that involve ceramics, but it works great on furniture and canvases too and it can really elevate the work.

On frames, it’s not uncommon to see tiny woodworm holes on original pieces, and whilst it’s not something that is completely necessary if you are using an older frame such as those you can pick up for next to nothing in a thrift store, driving in a small nail and removing it produces a similar effect. I then dip the nail into a slightly darker than the frame paint just to add a little depth, and this has the added benefit of protecting any exposed wood so that ironically, it’s less likely to become a harbour for real woodworms.

Creating fly specks, the enemy of many a fine art collector is easy enough to recreate using paint flicks, but it is much better when this is done with thicker paint to give the flicks a more of a raised texture. 

One of my long-running side hustles has been in creating props for theatre, tv and film, usually creating documents but occasionally creating the random abstract that hangs in a lobby for around half a second of screen time and this has taught me more than a few short cuts and a few not quite so short cuts, to create special effects over the years.

It has had a knock-on effect in influencing some of my artwork too. I absolutely love to create deep levels of detail that aren’t always immediately obvious to the viewer, it’s the kind of it’s there if you look detail and it can be another one of those things where I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse, some of the detail in my works can add hours to the time spent creating it.

If you can master a few techniques that can give the appearance of ageing that won’t dramatically add to the overall time needed to create the work, I think the detail is worth adding. If it takes hours and hours, you do have to consider whether it is worth doing, or whether you can recreate what you are looking to do in a simpler way that just provides an indication that the detail is there. My own problem is that I rarely if ever take the shortest route!

Styles and Examples of Retro and Vintage…

One piece of advice I would give to any artist considering working in retro and vintage works is to not limit themselves to digital creations. If you work only in digital you will limit what you can do with some subjects, and it’s only possible to produce an impression of authenticity as opposed to physical authenticity which allows collectors to hold something in their hand that then takes them back on a nostalgia trip. Texture, feel, and even weight, can reinforce the believability, with digital, it can be slightly more limiting.

Having said that, there’s still lots, and I really do mean, lots, of possibilities for digital artists to work in the retro and vintage space, and as we have covered here today, it is an artistic genre that stretches way beyond a fifties advertising sign or the Rubik Cube. So how far does it stretch? Let’s take a look at just a few examples.

Broadside Posters were perhaps the earliest forms of posters and they were used to bring attention to public decrees and notifications from the government. They were produced in large quantities, also known as ephemera, and they usually had short sentences to convey whatever message. Think of these as the earliest tweets, except they would be printed using a woodcut printing process. No intricate drawing would appear on these as the printing process was very limited.

Pixel Art which I have covered here today and in the past on this website is perhaps more stereotypically retro today, but pixel art is a bit of an art form in itself and one that is quite challenging, and not made any easier by modern design software. The real art is in coming up with something that would represent a picture in around 64 blocks of colour.

8-Bit retro art usually refers to the time when 8-bit processors would be able to use 8x8 pixel blocks to create a character.

Atari Box Art recreated on Atari ST
Another work in progress using an Atari ST 16-bit computer to recreate the box art of Space Invaders on the VCS 2600. Image courtesy of rights holder and used to demonstrate the power of the STs graphics. The Amiga was much better!

Not to be confused with voxels, which represents a character in a 3D space, think Minecraft, although technically, Minecraft uses polygons that pretend to be voxels if we’re getting geeky, or Texel which is an image representing the smallest unit of texture that may be repeated to tile an area. Voxels are extremely popular, particularly in advertising.

Lithography many vintage posters used the process of lithography, drawing the design onto a stone or metal plate which was usually made from either zinc or aluminium affixed with a chemical process with the design drawn using a lithographic crayon or ink. There is a great walkthrough of the process at The Met Museum website which you can find here

Poster Art was popular between the 1880s and 1960s and by the 1870s, the streets of Paris would be lined with beautiful posters advertising some of the local bars and clubs. The movement landed in the US and Europe eventually where it became the primary means of communication. Early poster art was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau styles and later Art Deco.

Propaganda Posters have been used by governments over and over, even to this day, you can see this style of poster being used in countries such as North Korea. Whilst we might not agree with the subject matter, there still remains a nod to the Cold War years in many of the works that do find their way out of the country.

World War II and post-war posters are incredibly popular for collectors, and these began to really influence the travel industry in the post-war years. I remember seeing some great posters to advertise the once-great airlines such as Pan Am, and there are some outstanding examples of vintage advertising posters. However, you also need to be mindful of any copyright issues.

Signage is always popular, regular readers will know that my pub and restaurant chalkboard signs have been something that has proven to be popular for a number of years, particularly in the B2B leisure and hospitality market.

Vintage and retro signage is also something that performs well within the retro home décor market. Vintage and retro kitchen signs advertising things like cream teas, coffee, or home baking and printed on wood or metal have been incredibly popular for years. However, many of them do have a kind of mass-produced feel so there could very well be a niche for something much more authentic. It’s likely that you will see some of these coming out of my own studio very soon, my daughter is in the process of opening a high-end bakery that also happens to sell accessories for the kitchen! Now I get to be the voluntary webmaster, courier, business analyst, and in-house artist and I’m still accepting computer games as payment all these years on!

Is retro for you?

Whether you are creating pixelated 8-bit art or recreating an antique, retro and vintage design is certainly, an artistic adventure that is as broad as it is long. There is so much scope for an artist to explore and it is a style of work that can be applied to almost any subject.

As a vintage or retro artist you don’t necessarily have to be limited to a single subject, the aged theme will often be enough to tie a body of work together. It all comes down to where you place your art for viewing or sale and the always important marketing, but I don’t think there is a style of art that is quite as flexible or more forgiving for an artist to work with.

Is it a genre that is worth exploring? If you enjoy history or recreating the past it can certainly be a pleasurable pursuit that feels much less formal than other artistic genres. It can also be challenging, particularly if you want to recreate vintage pieces that will require some often insane amounts of research to be carried out. If you are an artist who prefers to follow a genre that’s a little more straight forward where you are creating a single body of work with a more linear subject, retro and vintage might be more of a challenge and whilst many might initially think it’s easy, they quickly find out that it's not.

The other caveat is that whilst there are broader markets for vintage and retro work, in that you can often justify swapping the subject matter whilst retaining an overall theme, I’m not convinced that any retro and vintage work will necessarily be seen in the same light as more traditional artworks in terms of value. It also tends to be placed in different kinds of retailers or galleries. It does tend to do well in particularly touristy type areas, but it can also be a very crowded market.

My own experience is that this genre has historically for me, been very much an aside from my usual style of work, but having done this for so long my client base is relatively healthy especially for 8-bit art. That may be in part because there just aren’t the numbers of artists working in a specific 8-bit niche, so I think that in some cases, it could turn into more of a labour of love unless you can gain a foothold in a particular vintage or retro niche and then maybe branch out from there.

As with any art market, there will always be a market for everything, as I have said many times before, even bad art sells with the right marketing. But here’s the real rub, if you think there will be a ready-made buyer base eager to purchase retro and vintage style work, things aren’t quite so simple. You still have the marketing work to do just as you would with any subject, medium or genre, but the base for this work is broad and it might very well be a nice aside from, collection of work.

It is a busy market, there’s a heap of retro and vintage work already out there, but I think there is a lot of replication. I can’t even count up the number of times I have seen a slight twist on a twist of a theme, and some of the work does seem to be thrown together without too much of an insight into the past.

There are some phenomenal retro and vintage artists out there who tend to get overshadowed by a lot of templated vintage and retro art that isn’t in any way created with authenticity front and centre. What I mean by this is that this is the style of art that can usually be found in the imported print market with localisations applied to it.

If you take vintage signage as an example, there is a lot of it that is the same but it will be printed with different place names to meet some local market. For me, this is really souvenir art, often overpriced but priced for a specific tourist market. It meets some level of need in the absence of more authentic work but when you hold it up to the light against what I would term as being genuine retro and vintage-inspired art, you can see a huge difference in the quality and in the historical accuracy.

Retro vintage sign cornwall cream tea
Love Cornwall is available from my Fine Art America and Pixels store, notice the background detail of wood panelling with an aged and sun-bleached look.

Platforms such as Etsy have massive appeal to vintage and retro buyers and there’s some great aged work on there that is way better value. More often than not it’s priced even more competitively than these imported mass-produced prints and if you want even more authentic pieces, there are plenty of artists who have really managed to nail the detail on Etsy.

What has the potential to harm the retro-inspired market is the new ads we’re beginning to see on social media that promise Print on Demand artists access to more than a thousand or more print ready designs for less than forty bucks, you pay your money and then you get to download a lot of images.

These packages are filled with faux-retro inspired works which may or may not be licensed for commercial use in some way, they’re being touted as an ideal business start-up in the T-Shirt and print market, but I can’t see the original artists making anything out of these. They’re essentially downloads of ready to upload images designed with the sole intention to take the buyers money and offer a quick way to populate an online store.

Again, maybe I’m retro old school but I’m not convinced it’s either moral or ethical. I’m sure some people would welcome the idea of being able to open a POD account to compete with real artists, but this type of thing does nothing at all to preserve the integrity of a market and an industry that has, in all fairness, taken its fair share of the pandemic beating which has left a lot of real artists out in the cold. Maybe the POD companies will pick up on these when a million and one of the same designs start to appear, although I’m not holding out any hope that they might do that.

Retro as a side hustle or main business?

When I think back to creating images back in 1980 and 1981, and then moving through many different home computer systems, I have always managed to find a market for a particular vintage style of digital art. There was a brief time in the very early nineties when it became less popular, but by the time the internet became available to those members of the public who had an interest in it in 1993, things really were back to normal as websites were being created and those building them needed small fast loading images.

This style of work for me was never a primary business model back then, mostly because everything was still too young to be called retro as we would know retro today even though the word retro was first used in the 1970s in French, rétro, short for rétrograde originated from the Latin word retrogradi, which essentially meant to "move backward." It wasn’t really until the mid to late nineties that I began to notice that people were still feeling nostalgic over the still relatively recent but increasingly less available original home computer systems.

We had seen retro used in many other contexts by this time though, retro clothing was big as I remember in the nineties. As a trend, I think we can safely say that retro and vintage is more than just a trend, and if it is, it is perhaps the longest-running trend in the history of well, trends.

 As I said earlier, nostalgia sells, and when we look back through art history, many of the greatest pieces of art have told some kind of story or presented some kind of narrative about the past. Where we once would have seen antiques and family heirlooms, we now see cultural items becoming our most treasured keepsakes and rather than passing on the heirloom from generation to generation, we’re now very much in a time where we’re purchasing those items instead.

Maybe it’s not even nostalgia in the truest sense that we are yearning for but rather, we need to fill a craving for emotional continuity. We see it time and time again, Hollywood re-release new versions of old films, music labels reissue old albums remastered for new ways of listening and badge the packaging with the term special edition or anniversary edition, jolting us into a celebration of our past. As consumers, we buy using emotion, and then we justify with logic, we feel first and think second. As artists who then sell memories packaged as art, we become more like impresarios of memory.

However you term retro, vintage or nostalgia, it’s certainly an easier sell than art. It’s the emotional hook, it invites the viewer to tell their story and as they tell it they become ever-increasingly emotionally engaged. It’s hook, after hook, after emotional hook.

When you sell memories, you’re no longer only selling art, you’re selling the viewer a memory back, you’re selling them on your business and the experience you are giving them, and you are selling them a connection. In short, everything that you typically want to sell to someone whenever you are selling art, your hardest job is getting them in the proverbial door to begin with.

Whether you decide to follow a full-on retro path is something that only you can decide. For me, it compliments my usual body of work although if I was to focus on retro I don’t think I would ever be searching for anything new to create, we have an endless supply of history to work with. Nostalgia sells, emotional continuity puts us all on a path towards our very own individual emotional horizon, it shapes how we think, how we behave, what we love,  perhaps remembering where the journey has already taken us is what gives us the proof that our lives have some evolving meaning.

Get in touch and share your memories!

Do you have any special memories of growing up that you wish you could relive, or do you ever get reminded of yesteryear by certain sights, smells or sounds? I’d love to know that it’s not just me who hankers for the olden and golden days of childhood!

Until next time, as always, stay safe, stay well, look after each other and stay creative!

Mark x

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger and live in Staffordshire, England. My days are filled with art, dog walking and listening to Rick Astley! You can purchase my art through my Fine Art America store or my Pixels site here:   and you can purchase my new works, special and limited editions directly. You can also view my portfolio website at

If you are on Facebook, you can give me a follow right here,  You can also follow me on Twitter @beechhouseart and on Pinterest at

If you would like to support the upkeep of this site or maybe just buy me a coffee, you can do so at my new Go Fund Me link right here. 


  1. Wow Mark, great work and what a good read.
    Thanks for the clarification between retro and vintage.

    1. Thanks Jane, that definition caught me out for a while, but there are distinct groups of vintage collectors and retro is a much faster moving target! I didn’t touch on value, but there’s a definite premium for old and authentic! I’m in the process of photographing my vintage tech, there’s probably enough for a coffee table book and it all still works! Might have to post some of my 8-bit recreations - no photoshop involved! Hope you’re having a brilliant weekend. Xx

    2. Your enthusiasm is contagious, look forward to see some of those works. As for Rick, he would definitely put me to sleep :0


Post a Comment

Dear Readers, thanks for leaving a comment, and if you like what I'm doing, don't forget to subscribe at the top of the page and let your friends know I'm here!

Please do not leave links in comments, know that spam comments come here to meet their demise, and as always, be happy, stay safe, and always be creative!

Popular Posts