When it comes to painting, or even digital art, Microsoft Excel isn’t usually the first thing that pops into your head. Yet 73-year-old artist, Tatsuo Horiuchi, has been using it to create stunningly beautiful traditional Japanese artworks.
If you’re going to use software for artistic purposes, why not use something like the powerful and popular Adobe Photoshop, right? Well, Tatsuo Horiuchi’s explanation sort of makes sense – he says graphics software is too expensive, while Microsoft Excel came pre-installed on his computer. Plus, although he had never used it himself, before he retired from his job he often saw his colleagues using it to create graphs, so he thought the program could be used to draw art as well. In his early pension years, Horiuchi decided he wanted to try something new, so he bought a computer and began experimenting with digital painting. At first, he tried Microsoft Word, but he experienced problems with determining the canvas size to fit the printing paper, so he ultimately turned to Excel, which had a neat feature that automatically reduced the worksheet size to fit his A4 printing paper. Painting in a spreadsheet application was hard at first, but the ambitious Tatsuo managed to hone is skills, and during the last 10 years he has established himself as an original artist, with exhibitions all over Japan.
Tatsuo Hourichi isn’t the world’s first artist to use Excel as an art medium, but unlike Danielle Aubert, he doesn’t use the program’s cells to create pixelated artworks. Instead, he make use of its AutoShape feature to painstakingly draw complicated shapes which he then colors to produce traditional Japanese masterpieces. He still believes Microsoft Excel is an excellent tool, and that quality art doesn’t require complicated and expensive solutions. Hourichi sells his creations at local exhibitions in his home town of Sanada, Nagano Prefecture, and also donates them to libraries as large picture books.