The italian 8-bit Pixel Art Maker The Oluk is the most wonderful story You will read today!
July 18, 2020
We interview Manolo “The Oluk” Saviantoni who tells us the story of his success as a producer of pixel art and 8-bit video games “made in Italy”.
A few weeks ago a couple of 8-bit video games called “Capramento” (the video game on Sgarbi which is thrown out of Parliament) and “Al Bano vs Dinos” (the video game on Al Bano Carrisi that fights the dinosaurs) had a big success on the web. The popularity of these two video games, as it is easy to guess, is due to the modernization in a “gaming” key of two recent episodes of the costume gossip in Italy, that is, the expulsion of Sgarbi from Parliament and the “gaffe” of Al Bano in the italian TV show Domenica In (“man has destroyed dinosaurs, he will also destroy coronavirus“).
The common denominator of these two video games is the author, The Oluk, nickname of the illustrator Manolo Saviantoni, a talented Roman artist born in 1980 who, together with his friend and artistic partner Samuele Sciacca and the musician Jeff Sisti, completes the dream team of developers of 8-bit video games that for years have been writing and publishing “meme games” (so called) on the www.theoluk.com. Our Syrus Blog has contacted The Oluk, to learn more about his beautiful online reality and share with you a pleasant story to tell. Read on.
Manolo, thanks for the availability and congratulations for the recent success of the two games “Capramento” and “Al Bano vs Dinos”. The main national newspapers talked about your games! How did it happen?
As you can imagine, the game was born on impulse, in one night. I love to draw in “pixel art” (8-bit propped digital artistic composition in the case of Manolo, ed), that evening I saw on TV the re-presentation of the gaffe of Al Bano and the dinosaurs, I made the illustration looking for a childish cartoon style, I shared with my team and in one night the game was ready.
I published it on Instagram and word of mouth started from there. The next morning I was on almost all national newspapers! The result was a very nice thing, which Al Bano himself stated in the press that he had played with it and had fun!”
We read the story of the birth “by chance” of what is now your main profession. About 6 years ago you were at the Roma Termini train station facing a long wait for the trip back to your home in Ciampino because of the strike. While waiting, you were looking for a game for your mobile phone and you found an application to do “pixel art”. By publishing your first work on Instagram with this app (a bunny, click here to watch it), a world opened up to you: you began to experiment with new characters, finding a personal style and making yourself known on the web with the name of The Oluk. Tell us how Instagram was the main partner for your growth as a digital artist!
“At that time, I started getting it on with this app, the day I drew the character and at night I pixelated it and published it on Instagram. As soon as I got to a few hundred followers, I received an email from the Instagram team that was looking for, among all its users, someone who had stories to tell in “pixel art” or in the retrogame mode. I answered the contact, I was interviewed and they published my interview on the official Instagram blog. It was as if they had given me the keys of the city: more followers arrived and my production of new characters on Instagram grew with the increase of users connected to my page”.
In the following years you then used your talent to tributes of characters, films and TV series. The Oluk nickname was shared in the VIPs’s profiles and large Italian productions, and today you have thousands of followers and many are starting to look for you and your team. What are they asking you?
“From the customer’s point of view, the 8-bit video game is an “advergame”, or a videogame product to be included in a web marketing strategy as a viralization tool and brand advertising. I do not sell a product, but a project, I try to give the right price to everything by the use that you want to make of it. My team also tries not to forget the concept of “made in Italy”, we like to export our products beyond the borders thanks to the 8-bit games performed on the internet. In this pandemic period, being in lockdown for such a long period of time allowed us to enter people’s homes with our “meme Games” to make people smile … and I think we have succeeded fully I also think that companies have understood that making themselves known with a Game is something that in this historical period is appreciated more by users.
Your story is a beautiful story of a young talent who builds his working life by investing in his passion and riding on the potential offered by the internet. What do you want to say to our readers who are trying to do something on the internet and fail to achieve the goals they want?
“I suggest that you never give up, don’t break down, because the internet is meritocratic and let you use work tools that enhance and reward talent. I was about to give up my experience with digital graphics because I wanted to work in the sector of vector illustrations, but by chance, I found an application, I started producing pixel art in 8-bit, I was contacted by the Instagram team, and … you already know the rest of the story! “
Thank you so much Manolo for the interview!
By clicking on the following links you can visit the official websites of The Oluk and try all the games (there are many!) published by The Oluk: