Microsoft created Microsoft Excel as a spreadsheet program basically for businesses to use it for recording expenditures and incomes, plan budgets, chart data, and present fiscal results. Little did anyone know that this program could be used for any other purpose than this. However, Tatsuo Horiuchi turned this notion completely on its head.
This 77-year-old Japanese artist uses Microsoft Excel to produce stunning works of art that mimic traditional Japanese paintings and a genre of Japanese art called Ukiyo-e! Anyone looking at these Excel paintings of natural landscapes, enriched by cultural motifs, would believe they’ve been created using Photoshop or other digital imaging software.
It all started when Horiuchi, after retiring from his job, wanted to pursue his passion for art. However, he found paints and brushes too expensive to afford and decided to use what’s already installed on his computer, that is, Microsoft Excel. Although Horiuchi did try Microsoft Word for creating art, he found it too restrictive, especially pertaining to its paper sizing. He also gave a go by to Microsoft Paint, since he found Excel had more functions and was by far more convenient and easier to use.
Speaking to mymodernmet.com, Horiuchi said, “I never used Excel at work but I saw other people making pretty graphs and thought I could probably draw with that. Graphics software is expensive but Excel comes pre-installed in most computers…and it has more functions and is easier to use than (Microsoft) Paint.”
It was in the year 2000 that Horiuchi discovered that he can paint with Microsoft Excel. He resolved to hone his skills to create art with this program to be able to present something decent that he could show to people. It has been 15 years since then and the artist continues to create mind-blowing Japanese traditional paintings.
Horiuchi’s Excel paintings of mountains, cherry blossoms, dense forests, and much more are unique and have elicited an excited response from the art world. His ability to use simple vector drawing tools, meant primarily for graphs and simple shapes, for creating panoramic scenes of life in rural Japan is something to be seen to be believed.
It comes as no surprise that this artist from Nagano, Japan won many art competitions. Most notable among them was the first prize he won at the Excel Autoshape Art Contest in 2006. He was also awarded Ageless Emblem by the Cabinet Minister and served as a lecturer of Excel Painting.
Tatsuo Horiuchi: Website