+
upworthy
Pop Culture

Artist makes everyday spaces magical by cleverly adding pixelated, old-school pop-culture icons

Here are 17 of his most clever pieces.

johan karlgren, pappas pärlor, bi-bit art

Pappas Pärlor's fantastic street art.

Anyone who grew up in the late '80s and early '90s—Gen X, I’m looking at you—grew up in a world that was dominated by 8-bit graphics. Back in the day, computers and video game systems had a limited amount of processing power so the graphics had to be simple.

That meant the heroes that we played with such as Mario from Super Mario Brothers or Link from The Legend of Zelda, had to be super simple looking and we had to fill in the rest with our imaginations.

Video graphics have come a long way over the past 30-plus years, but people still love the old designs because it takes them back to a simpler time. This has led to an 8-bit movement where people use their creativity to make art within the confines of the limited medium.

Some people also use the limited 8-bit soundscape to create music that’s reminiscent of the old games. Sure, computer game music may be much more sophisticated these days, but is there anything better than the soundtrack to the original Tetris? Would Super Mario Brothers be the same with a sophisticated soundtrack? I think not.


Swedish artist Johan Karlgren, who goes by the name Pappas Pärlor, creates pixelated 8-bit-looking art and then inserts it into everyday scenes. The interesting thing is that his 8-bit art isn’t done with computer graphics, but Perler beads.

Perler beads are small, plastic beads that one places on a grid, and when the picture is done, they are melted with a household clothing iron. The beads are a fun hobby for kids who love to see the melting beads ooze their way into a fully-formed picture.

Although they weren’t originally intended to make 8-bit art, because the beads are placed on a grid when they melt together the designs look like they came straight out of a Nintendo Entertainment System.

Karlgren recreates iconic images from comics, cartoons, video games and movies with the beads and then adds them to the scenarios, turning the mundane into the whimsical.

What’s Karlgren’s big inspiration? “Anything that makes me feel something,” he told Bored Panda. “It could be anything from childhood memories to politics or people doing awesome stuff that I wanna interpret.”

For Karlgren, his work is the byproduct of having a good time. “I don’t really choose what to create. My work is sprung from playing, and I’ll try to go with the ideas that come up in my head,” he said.

One of the hallmarks of Karlgen’s work is taking drab places such as a parking lot or other types of urban infrastructure and livening them up with the addition of one of his Perler bead creations. "It's something that makes me happy, and hopefully other people [when] seeing it as well," he told Newsweek.

Karlgren is a father of four and started posting his creations on Instagram back in April 2014. Since then, his fun, old-school designs have earned him more than 144,000 followers. Here are some of his coolest, and funniest 8-bit designs.


8-Bit Joker
Raiders of the Lost Fence Knob
Mario Kart: Snow Speeders
"Here's 8-Bit Johnny!"
The Man of Steel
That Creep Can Roll
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Anthony Adams Rubbing Hands Meme


"I Said God Damn!"

"Take My Money!"
Darth's Day Off


"Go Ahead, Make My Day."


Mini Bernie


Tony Montana


The Homer Meme


This article originally appeared on 02.25.22

Family

Woman goes to huge lengths to adopt husband's ex-wife's baby to save him from foster care

She had lived in foster care and didn't want it for the newborn with no name.

Christie Werts and her son, Levi


Christie and Wesley Werts have taken the idea of a blended family to the next level. When the couple fell in love five years ago and married, they brought together her children, Megan and Vance, and his children, Austin and Dakota.

As of January, the Ohio family has five children after adopting young Levi, 2. Levi is the son of Wesley’s ex-wife, who passed away four days after the child was born. The ex-wife had the boy prematurely, at 33 weeks, and died soon after from drug addiction and complications of COVID-19.

When Levi was born, he was a ward of the state with no first name or birth certificate.

Keep ReadingShow less
Music

Beyoncé’s cover of ‘Blackbird’ has fans praising Paul McCartney after learning its true meaning

"I already loved Blackbird, and this cover, but knowing this history makes it so much more meaningful."

Beyoncé photo by Blair Caldwell via Beyoncé Press/Paul McCartney by Melissa Lopes via Flickr

Beyoncé covers "Blackbird' and fans are praising Paul McCartney

Beyoncé released a new album recently and unless you've been asleep for the past few weeks, you've likely heard about it. While everyone knew she was going to make a more significant splash into the country music genre, the details of the album were scarce until it's release. To many people's surprise it wasn't simply a country album, it was a genre bender that somehow seamlessly transitioned country, pop, R&B and rap all in one album, Cowboy Carter.

Country music legends like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton made an appearance, with Parton introducing Beyoncé's cover of her infamous song "Jolene." While the spin on that country classic has the internet abuzz over the lyric changes that take the singer from begging to assertively telling Jolene to stay away, it's "Blackbird" that many can't get enough of.

"Blackbird" was originally written by Paul McCartney and sung by a little band he was in named The Beatles. Maybe you've heard of them. The song topped the charts in the 60s and will likely make its way to the charts again with Queen Bey's cover of it. But it's the meaning behind the song that has people talking.

Keep ReadingShow less

Can a dog really trust you?

Dogs can smell fear, but can they sniff out the truth? Your dog might actually be smarter than you're giving it credit for. It turns out, dogs are pretty good at picking up on human behavior. Science says so. A team led by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan conducted a study which found out that dogs actually know if you're to be believed or not.

The study involved tricking dogs in the name of science. Humans have known for a long time that if you point at an object, a dog will run to it. Researchers utilized this information in their study. During the experiment, they pointed at a container that was filled with hidden food. Sure enough, the dog ran towards the container. Then, they pointed at a container that was empty. The dogs ran towards it, but found that it had no food.

Keep ReadingShow less

Ramy Youssef at the 2017 MPAC Media Awards

Actor and comedian Ramy Youssef pulled off an incredible feat in his March 30, 2024 Saturday Night Live appearance, mixing religion, politics and humor in a way that disarmed and united people. Some people are calling it one of the best SNL monologues ever, and it's genuinely impressive to watch.

How often have you seen someone manage to talk about religion, prayer, the upcoming election, and something like the bombardment of Palestine in a way that isn't offensive, obnoxious, or overwrought and that's also funny? Never, right?

Youssef somehow did all of that in an 8-minute stand-up comedy routine that was equal parts warm, genuine, heartfelt and humorous.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Couple lives permanently on cruise ships because it costs ‘half’ the price of life on land

"We now have a telephone bill, a ship bill and a few credit card bills for when we go ashore, but that's it.”

A white cruise ship crosses the sea.

Given the rapidly changing cost of living in the United States, lifestyle options that once seemed luxurious are now starting to look like good deals. A growing trend is that retirees are choosing to spend their golden years on cruise ships instead of living in a retirement community.

The latest examples of this trend are John, 76, and Melody Hennessee, 64. Before retiring, John was a doctor and the couple also owned an art gallery in Stuart, Florida. In 2021, the couple sold everything and purchased an RV to see the country, but after a few years, they were exhausted.

“The constant maintenance, fueling, and planning,” he told Realtor.com.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Why Beyonce's 'Protector' song has parents bawling

"Beyonce you gonna need to start paying for my therapy cause the way these tears are flowing."

Beyoncé/Youtube

Brb, grabbing tissues.

Not even 24 hours after its release, Beyoncé’s soulful, genre-bending “Cowboy Carter” album broke records on Spotify, becoming the platform’s most-streamed album in a single day so far this year.

With 27 tracks—ranging from thought-provoking covers to an eclectic array of originals—there’s a little something for everyone. There’s even a more whoopass version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.

But there’s one tune in particular that’s striking a cord with parents. Not to mention making them shed a few tears.

Keep ReadingShow less