Dubbed as the Michelangelo of Microsoft Excel, 77-year-old Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi impresses the world with his Excel spreadsheet paintings. At first glance, you’ll probably think that his paintings are done with acrylic, oil or watercolor. But you’ll be surprised to know that these intricate artworks are created using Microsoft Excel. Yes, the spreadsheet program that features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables and other useful elements to solve financial, engineering and statistical queries.
Developed to organize data manipulations and mathematical operations, the spreadsheet program can also display graphical data such as line graphs, charts, histograms and basic shapes. But when it comes to graphics, it only offers very limited three-dimensional graphical features. Needless to say, this software isn’t intended for drawing and image manipulation as there is other software for that such as Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop. But one artist proved that nothing is impossible by creating beautiful art using Excel.
Excel Spreadsheet Paintings
When Horiuchi retired, he decided to embrace his long-time passion, which is to paint. But instead of using paints and a paintbrush, he thought of using his PC to paint. With a computer, he doesn’t need to spend money on paints and other painting tools. Furthermore, he was settled on utilizing whatever he has on his computer. So, he opted to use pre-installed programs on his computer instead of buying expensive graphics software.
At first, he tried using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Paint. However, he felt that this software didn’t give him much freedom in drawing. Back in 2000, he saw how people create pretty graphs using Excel and realized that he could also use that feature to draw. He began to tinker with the spreadsheet program to create art. Using the line tool, he draws the subject while taking advantage of the grid of cells as his guide. He then uses the bucket tool to add colors and shading to the image.
Horiuchi found this technique easier than using Word or Paint. He has been painting on Excel since then and was able to discover and apply the software’s unknown artistic capabilities. Inspired mostly by natural landscapes and Japanese cultural motifs, Horiuchi has gained worldwide recognition as a digital artist over the years. One of his Excel paintings also won first prize at the Excel Autoshape Art Contest in 2006.
Check out the video to see the digital artist in action