By Ted Simpson –
Malcolm Hicks, 8, and his army of Pixel People are helping to build a mountain, a Toy Mountain.
A third grade student at Elmdale Public School, Malcolm reserves his spare time around the Christmas season to construct his Pixel People. The figures are sold online and the money raised is donated to Toy Mountain, a charity that provides gifts for children living in less fortunate circumstances.
This is the second season for Malcolm’s 8-bit art project. His idea took off last December, and quickly became an instant hit.
“I just thought of it, then it just happened,” he says. It can be easy to forget how simple charity can be.
Each Pixel Person is a unique collection of plastic dots, fixed together with a bit of tape on a paper card. Every pixelated character comes with their own personality and a name, of course, hand written on the card by Malcolm.
“What’s the point of making people without names?” he says.
So far, Malcolm has fashioned over 350 Pixel People. The collection is a cultural mashup of characters ranging from Sanjay to Maggie to Kanye. Each one comes out as a bubbly, miniature rainbow.
“The colours are totally random, but they’re sort of festive colours, sometimes I do local team colours,” says Malcolm. They all have a surprising amount of personality for something without a face.
Malcolm gets a little help from his dad, David Hicks, to run the business side of things. The Pixel People are sold through an online store courtesy of a local company, Shopify.
Pixel People have found new homes as far away as Australia. “People are usually buying three to six at once, our average order is about 15 dollars,” says David.
Pixel People have also made it into the Pop-Up Gallery in Westboro (located at 332 Richmond Road until December 22), where they can be bought for $5 each.
“This is the only place that sells them, on the entire planet!” says Malcolm at the gallery where his characters are set for retail in a small, handmade display box.
The demand for Pixel People has more than doubled since last year. Total sales for this year are already over $1700.
Malcolm and his dad recently went on a shopping spree at My Toy Shop, a family owned, small business in Manotick that was kind enough to offer a discount on the toys to make Malcolm’s donation to Toy Mountain even bigger.
The young artist has accomplished a lot, yet remains humble, even when given the opportunity for some extra self-promotion: “I don’t really have anything to say, except buy more Pixel People!”
Check out the gallery of Pixel People online at mypixelpeople.com.