Intricate Excel Spreadsheet Art by Tatsuo Horiuchi

Curators’ Corner

Intricate Excel Spreadsheet Art by Tatsuo Horiuchi

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While most people try to avoid the headaches induced by Microsoft Excel, Tatsuo Horiuchi, a 73-year-old Japanese artist, embraces Excel to create vibrant Japanese landscape designs.  Though Excel operates mainly as a data analysis tool, Horiuchi has found a way to use Excel’s autoshape feature as a design tool, connecting and layering custom colored shapes to fabricate drawings. Horiuchi’s free-form figures span multiple cells and are grouped together to produce a larger image.

Why the choice of Excel as a drawing tool? “Graphics software is expensive but Excel comes pre-installed in most computers,” Horiuchi rationalized.  “I saw other people neatly drawing graphs, and I thought it seemed like Excel could be used to draw art.”

Horiuchi gained international recognition as a digital artist after prevailing over the competition at the Excel Autoshape Art Contest in 2006. Since then, he has gone on to further his collection. Many pieces can be found on display at the Gunma Museum of Art in Japan.

To think, had he decided to purchase standard graphic software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, perhaps we would never have heard of him.