As far as graphic artists go, it’s not often that you’d expect one of the most influential to be someone like Hal Lasko. Having worked as a typographer and graphic artists the majority of Lasko’s (better known as “Grandpa”) career, it wasn’t until he was 85 that he was introduced to his first computer. Loaded with Microsoft Paint, Lasko took the otherwise kitsch and primitive software and shed light on some of his own untapped potential.
Joined by moderator Jason Theodore and Lasko’s grandson (Ryan Lasko) at FITC Toronto 2014, attendees got a rare glimpse at a man so pure in heart, humbly sharing his art with the world. As simple as it is surreal, Lasko’s pixel art displays an impeccable amount of depth, and just goes to show what a powerful force minimalist art can truly be. “Simplicity [in art] is one of the most beautiful things you can do.”
The simple nature of Lasko’s art works hand in hand with simple software like MS Paint, but doesn’t skimp on the ultimate visual potential while still being accessible enough for him. Painting on MS Paint is “a lot like painting [by hand], just with a different instrument.” That open and accepting mind for technology is as refreshing as it is rare, particularly for someone his age, and offers us all, no matter the age, potential to grasp even our deepest artistic urges regardless of medium.
To add to that, Lasko also suffers from diminishing eyesight so creating visual media is not exactly something you would expect him to continue pursuing, but the joy it offers far outweighs any physical disability. That passion and dedication has taken him far, and for good reason, even landing him a documentary about his work in Webby Award nominated, The Pixel Painter.
There’s something so sincere and real about Lasko and his works, something graphic artists should have every right to be inspired by. “To be a 98-year-old artist is a tremendous honour for me” -- people like Lasko are living proof that there are no limits to our creative potential. You never know where your artistic passions may take you.
You can find out more about Hal “Grandpa” Lasko at his website: www.hallasko.com