Who are you? Where are you based?
I am Emergent Art. I'm 36 years old and live in Umeå in northern Sweden. I am a physical pixel artist mainly working with fusebeads. I am also a scientist working in fruitfly genetics.
When and why did you first start making your art?
I started to consider myself an artist about two years ago, however some of my earlier work could easily have been something I made today. It took me quite some time to build the confidence needed to call me an artist. I started using beads together with my kids and it kinda spun out of control from there.
What inspires your artwork?
The most attractive part of doing beadwork for me comes through the theory of emergence. This is the theory of how very basic building blocks, when arranged in a specific way, can result in structures that is more than just the sum of its parts. This can be an ant colony, the ripple patterns on a sand dune or conciseness itself. In my day job as a geneticist these building blocks are the nucleotides that make up the DNA/RNA molecules of life. In my art the beads are the blocks and with roughly 200 different colours they make up a pattern that can only be seen if you take a step back.
I draw inspiration from feminism, the LGBTQ+ community and science. Often a mix of them. I make original work and I riff on great pieces from other artists and disciplines.
Do you remember the first piece you made?
I do remember my first piece I did as an adult, a Super Mario mushroom. I think it's a classic gateway motif for many bead artists out there. I made it with my kids before I even had considered beads as a creative medium.
What's the biggest piece you've ever made?
Easily Storm from the X-Men, an adaptation from the art of Mike Mitchell. Biggest one I've mounted is my piece "Raising the Rainbow Flag".
What is your art workspace like?
It has evolved over the years. I started out as a nomad with a portable bead storage solution. This was great in the beginning, to be able to bead everywhere in the house. But as I accumulated more colours and started making increasingly larger pieces I needed a work space. Now I have wall mounted assortment cabinets and a studio in my basement. It's my happy place.
What are the tools of your trade?
Except for beads and pegboards I am a tweezer nerd. This comes from me picking brains out of fruitfly larvae on a daily basis. One can never have too many tweezers. I even made a post on tweezers if you want the whole nerdy lecture.
What's the most time you've spent on a project?
Aside from having a day job and a family, I am a perfectionist. So when a piece is done, which in itself can take a long time, I keep it around and do tiny tweaks for a long time. I have unfinished pieces that are more than 6 months old, that's just how I operate. The exception is if it's a commission, then I get my shit together and finish whatever I start.
Can you talk us through your creative process? How do you go about planning and creating a piece?
First, inspiration needs to strike. There are no rules to this, it can be a piece by someone else or something heard by the recycling station. It just happens.
Next comes the pattern making and this is where I can nerd out for days with different colour matching algorithms, palette optimization and image adjustments. When that's done I start the beading process and I usually do one board at the time. I never assemble the whole thing before all pieces are done. This adds to the emergence element of my work, to see I all come together even if it's just for me. Love that part.
Then comes the tweaking I talked about earlier, followed by the ironing and optionally mounting of the piece. I have a super fancy iron but it's still the worst part. I'd happily pay for a ironing service if such a thing existed.
What are the most common questions you get asked about your art?
1. How/Why do you get em' so big?
2. What software do you use?
Have you had any art-related disasters?
Yes... Oh, you want details. I messed up the ironing royalty a few times. My worst one was melting a hole in Storms head, and having to perform brain surgery,after being an idiot with the parchment paper.
Do you have a dream project you'd love to make, but just can't justify yet?
I've been asked this before in interviews and joking said a wall sized recreation of "The pillars of creation". Well now it's bouncing around in there and I kinda think it would be an amazing project.
What was your most recent project?
I've had a a few street art projects and my last one was a trans flag version of the rebel alliance emblem from Star Wars. I placed these at various locations to empower and support gender rebels everywhere.
What are your favourite experiences you've had as a result of your art?
All the creative people I have gotten to know thanks to the social media art scene. I have gotten to know some really amazing people not just in pixel art but surprisingly also cosplay which wasn't on my radar before I got my work on Instagram. It's by far the kindest and most interesting community out there.
Do you have any projects in progress or in the pipeline right now?
I'm working on one right now that is the sequel piece to one of my most popular pieces. Not telling you anymore. Wait and see.
Do you sell your art? If so, how can people find it?
I do sell my art. You can find it on
How can people find you online? Drop your social media handles, websites etc...
My handle is @emergentbeads on:
Instagram (my main platform)
Ko-Fi (if you want to buy me a bag of beads)
I am on TikTok, Artfol and Facebook as well but I am not giving my followers there the full all-inclusive experience. Follow me on Instagram say 'Hi!'.
Anything else to share? Shoutouts, words of wisdom etc?
Do your thing and screw everybody else. Everyone can bring something unique to the table and if more people did this world would be better for it.
Every week I run a character centered artist/cosplay tribute in my Instagram stories. I let my followers decide who's next and I have a quiz. It's usually on Wednesdays. Swing by and join the fun
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.