Upcycling with an Outrun Twist

The famous painting “Great Wave off Kanagawa” w/ an outrun twist


I already explored this aesthetic more in-depth for my “Explore and Aesthetic” post and that gave me a lot of inspiration regarding my upcycling project. To give a brief summary, outrun, or Miami Vice as I termed it based on my experience, utilizes neon colors, 3D landscapes with the constraints off 2D design, nostalgic elements, and retro futurism to create a vibrant and eye catching aesthetic. I really like the idea that outrun can take something modern and give it a coat that makes it seem more old-school, even more points if that design intention can invoke some feelings of nostalgia particularly harkening back to the 80s and 90s.

A lot of pieces that encapsulate this aesthetic seem to mainly be digital art pieces or music so I think applying this to a real world upcycling project is going to be fairly challenging and unique. Some ideas that initially come to mind is upcycling old electronics but making them into a modern pieces(not sure what yet) with the neon color pallet. I think this would capture the nostalgic feel while giving it a vibrant look through a sharp paint coat. Another idea that comes to mind is taking movie posters I have and giving them a multi colored neon paint and creating a frame that has elements of 80s design. There are a handful of modern movies I can think of(Drive, It Follows, Suspiria) that attempt to capture the feel of 80s movies with a modern twist so I think thematically that would work really well for those movies that utilize that nostalgia. I am also a big fan of thrifting my clothes so I think finding something modern and turning it into a older looking article of clothing would be really unique and appealing article of clothing that has a modern base with nostalgic aspects.

The main reason I am choosing this is simply because I like it, I love neon color pallets and when done right they can look really good. I also noticed in my research that there are not a lot of tangible pieces of art that incorporate this aesthetic so taking the initiative upon myself to create something will be a challenge since I do not have much inspiration to go off of. Regardless, I am excited to make something wholly unique that I hope will look good enough, while capturing one of my favorite aesthetics, to have in my room to show off.



Image Citations

  1. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/8373949295484567/                                                                                                                                                                                  Note: The original artist seems to have removed the page this was originally posted on
  2. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/260434790937459688/
  3. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/600456562801451706/ (Original artist: AaronSlaterDesign)
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive_(2011_film) (Original Theatrical Release Poster)
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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Sam Perkins-Harbin
    August 9, 2021 7:51 pm

    Ahoy! I’m glad you like my artwork “Neon Sunrise”. I, too love creating modern retro artwork drenched in nostalgia.

    You can find the original here, and if you can update your citation I would appreciate it!


  • Hey Ben, I enjoy the neon colors and digital art you have shown in the post. I am curious to see how you will bring this aesthetic to life as it does seem challenging. The movie poster idea seems great and I’d love to see how a modern poster could be made to look retro with the neon palette.

  • Hello Ben, I enjoy the look of this aesthetic and I am excited to see where you take your project. The idea of a movie poster could work, but I am afraid sourcing some materials like recycled electronics or paints may hard to find. I bet that the arts parts vendor that Jean had mentioned may be a good spot to find what you need.


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