When Tatsuo Horiuchi was approaching retirement age, he wanted to do something new with his free time. So he bought a computer, and in 2000 decided to try his hand at making digital art. But Mr. Horiuchi from Nagano Prefecture, Japan, doesn’t use Photoshop or any other graphics editing software. These intricate digital artworks were made entirely in Microsoft Excel! It’s hard to believe that spreadsheet software can be used to make something so compellingly beautiful.
Fourteen years after he first started experimenting with digital art, Mr. Horiuchi is now a celebrated artist whose works have been exhibited locally and nationally. He’s also the winner of the Excel Autoshape Art Contest (what d’you mean, you didn’t know that was a thing?!) Let’s take a look at some of his work, and the fascinating process that goes into making it.
“I hadn’t used Excel at work or anything, but I’d seen my coworkers making graphs with it, and thought I could probably use it to draw”, said Mr. Horiuchi in an interview with Japanese site PC Online last year. While graphics software can be expensive, Excel came pre-installed on his computer. “It’s easier to use than Microsoft Paint”, he added.
▼”Cherry Blossoms at Jogo Castle” (2006)
▼ “Kegon Falls” (2007)
▼ Mr. Horiuchi with some of his artwork.
Mr. Horiuchi makes his art using Excel’s Autoshape function. This close-up shows that each cherry blossom petal has been individually added. Now that’s attention to detail!
▼ Check out how many layers there are in this image!
▼ More of Mr. Horiuchi’s stunning artworks:
Mr. Horiuchi has made the raw files for some of his work, which has been exhibited in local exhibitions and also in the Gunma Museum of Art, available online. If you want to see for yourself how it’s done, you can download them here: his actual Excel files.