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Use Your Mouse To Push Pixels Like Putty

"My Little Pixel Pusher" is an interactive site by Andrew Benson that lets you pixelate photos into oblivion.

Digital renaissance man Andrew Benson loves to watch the accumulation of "layers of crud" in his digital work. For Benson, digital "crud" doesn't come in the form of online quizzes or sensationalist clickbait—crud isn't even a bad thing. Crud is what happens when he explores the creative distortion of an image, and when the crud looks just right, he knows his work is done.

Now he's gifting the beauty of crud to the Internet-at-large through his new project, My Little Pixel Pusher. Anyone with a web connection can upload an image to Pixel Pusher's web interface, which enables them to warp and pixelate the picture with a few sweeps and clicks of the mouse. An HTML5 canvas tracks the mouse movements, grabs pieces of the image and pastes them based on the distance the mouse moved. The tactile interaction of a physical hand with this process—plus a little bit of magic randomization sprinkled in there—fascinates Benson most.


"I come from a background in drawing, painting, and sculpture and I've never been able to give up the desire to use my hands and control things on some level," he told The Creators Project. "Where software gets interesting is manipulating how the image responds to the hand and playing with that space."

Since Benson's work explores people pushing the pixels themselves—rather than an algorithm doing all the leg work—he hopes the public will take advantage of this free tool for some serious image manipulation. "I'd love to see what sorts of whackadoo images people are mashing up," he says, "but for now the pixels you push are your own business."

They're "your own business" because there currently isn't a unified place to look at the crazy pixel art people are making with My Little Pixel Pusher. But, you can check out some of Benson's own experiments here for inspiration. Here's one example of the eye-catching crud he's churned out:

Even more inspiring is Benson's philosophy when making this kind of digital media art—which he asserts is distinct from traditional glitching. Keep these words in mind when you begin to explore his tool box:

"I like to go almost completely abstract, but leave behind small traces of the original image. I like the play between abstraction and representation. I really just want people to have fun with it and make something that pleases them. That would be great."


We took a simple approach to Pixel Pusher, but after a just few minutes of pixel play, we had amassed a collection of cool pictures:

To make your own pixelated abstractions, go to the My Little Pixel Pusher interface here.

Benson is a multi-platform digital artist with work spread all across the web. You can find his work on his personal Tumblr, an ongoing project called Wolf And Unicorn, his Vimeo page, his website, a portfolio, and his Twitter.

h/t Prosthetic Knowledge


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