Emojis: Art From Smileys

A wide variety of objects has been used to do art. Even emojis and icons. In this article, we’ll talk about, and how these little drawings you use in your cellphones can be turned into masterpieces.

The majority of insults never end up well. But when Marcel Duchamp did it, he gave birth to an artistic revolution that started conceptual art.

During the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists took place in 1917, a piece from R. Mutt shook the place.

Emoji Art: Fontaine Marcel Duchamp

When the jury saw the urinal, they treated it like nonsense. It was an object, it could be anything but art.

To everyone’s surprise, Marcel Duchamp confessed he was the artist behind the piece. He submitted it under the pseudonym R. Mutt to critique the art scene of the time. He never imagined that the jurors would change their minds after finding out that the urinal was submitted by such a great artist. In fact, they started praising the piece.

We could argue that Duchamp’s critique went wrong. However, it opened the doors for thousands of artists that started using any object for their art, not just traditional elements such as paintings, clay, or stone. In a manner of speaking, his hopes didn’t go down the urinal. Get it?

Before talking about icons and emojis, let us show you other art examples made out of uncommon objects.

Are You Eating That?

Even though it may be a bit controversial, many artists have used food for their art.

From condiments to cheeses, meats, and avocados. While some play with food, others try to make statements.

One that stands out is “Red” Hong Yi. Although the majority of her art comes from bizarre elements, she also made a really interesting collection of pieces from food.

Her canvases are plates, she uses meat, vegetables, and gravy as paintings. Basically, if it’s on a restaurant menu, she will use it.

Emoji Art: Red Hong Yi

Check her work here.


This collective of Argentinean artists has taken notoriety for their capacity of creating big pieces from odd materials such as cookies or salami. 

Many times there’s an intentionality behind the objects they choose. They are part of the metaphors Mondongo wants to tell.

One of their most representative pieces is the portrait of Che Guevara made from bullets. 

Emoji Art: Grupo Mondongo

You can discover more of their work right here.

That’s Some Beautiful Garbage

The planet needs us to recycle. What better way to do it than creating art in the process?

Tim Noble and Sue Webster are a team of artists from England. They found in recycling garbage great materials for their creations. But it’s not about what they can build with it, but what they can project with it.

First, they generate different structures, then they point lights towards them and form figures with the shadows projected. If you think it’s interesting reading about them, brace yourselves for when you see their pieces.

Emoji Art: Tim Noble & Sue Webster

Emojis and the Digital World

Let’s talk about digital art, especially those pieces created with icons and emojis.

As you know, your cell phones, computers, and tv screens show you pixels. These are little squares so close to each other that they form the images you see. Try it out, just zoom in on any picture you have on your computer, and at one point, you’ll see those little guys.

Having this in mind, different artists have created pieces using as pixels other tiny elements. For example, the funny yellow faces you see every day on your mobile phone. Emojis.

Yung Jake

Emoji Art: Yung Jake

One of the most prominent artists in this field is Yung Jake (Jake Patterson).

From his Instagram account (@yungjake) he shares portraits of famous people of the world, entirely created with superimposed emojis.

In fact, a couple of weeks ago, he offered some of his pieces as NFT’s (to know more about this, check our article).


Emoji Art: Maadonna YATTA

Kim Asendorf and Emilio Gomariz are the duos behind YATTA. One of the first apps that let you transform images into “pixel art” created with emojis.

They define each other like this:

“We just do online art… We love the modern and colorful aesthetic it provides, the way you can experiment from your computer, and how easy it is to distribute your art online…”

Cantor Fine Arts

Emoji Art: Cantor Fine Art

Even though they are not artists per se, Canton Fine Arts got recognition for their work with emojis. From their reinterpretation of iconic pieces from history to the FridaMoji collection.

In this particular example, they recreated Frida Kahlo’s masterpieces and also turned herself into a pictographic version.

After watching these artists one thing is clear, the digital art world is at everyone’s reach. People only need dedication and a bit of creativity (on this subject, don’t miss this article).

Also, if you want to start producing, turn on your computer, make yourself a cup of coffee and start looking for the best icons and emojis to work with. Need a tip on that? Check Fltaicon first!

By Nico