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O Magazine

The Arcade Dream

Shirobon is the artistic name of Mikey Cordedda, a young London producer in love with 8bit and chiptune sounds. In his tracks and sets, apart from his computer and synthesizers, there’s always a Game Boy. Shirobon experiments with 80s melodies and synths and mixes them up with console notes and frantic rhythms that, at the same time, take them closer to a 90s universe.

When Mikey got in touch with me for the first time, he’d seen my work and wanted me to do the artwork for the album he was about to release, “The Arcade Dream”; I’d say it’s the album of his that better portrays this mixture of styles.

At that moment I was trying to find a different focus for my illustrations: I was interested in keeping the 80s nostalgic look, but I wanted to approach it from a more pop, fresh and casual perspective.

So I proposed to work on that line, which fitted the sound of his album quite well because of the mixture of different ingredients that I mentioned earlier.

Shirobon – The Arcade Dream – O Production Company



In that sense, a clear reference in all my works is Robert Abel, because of his vision of composition, colour treatment, visual universe and impeccable graphics. I think his style could easily be drawn to the present and it wouldn’t lose any of the freshness it had in the 80s.

So, taking into account that background, I started sketching ideas. Mikey was clear about wanting an arcade machine on it, that was the only guideline he gave me. After outlining different ideas and studying the composition, I started working on it digitally. It was an illustration work that continually got refined: there were many possible ideas and elements to include, but in the end I opted for leaving only the essential.

On the back of the sleeve, I wanted something very clean and simple when it came to composition. I like the idea of the individual before immensity and the beauty of space/landscape, and that helped giving an epic touch to the whole thing. On top of that, it ended up having a gif version.


For Shirobon’s last work, “Infinity”, Mikey went back to his roots, everything went back to sounding a lot more chiptune than in the previous album and, though it’s still there, the 80s touch was much more diluted than on the one before.

This time, he told me to do whatever I pleased, but from the beginning we saw clear that the change in sound should be corresponded with a change in the artwork: we had to find something more present, more direct, but without losing some of the key ingredients, like the nostalgic, epic and fantastic touch.

I wanted to work with a single element to symbolize the idea of infinity, and that element would be the central part of the cover artwork. So I was sure about getting rid of backgrounds and scenarios and would look for something mucho cleaner and direct than in the previous album. After a good brainstorming, I reached the conclusion that the pegasus was a good way of expressing infinity (it being an immortal creature) and it would also give the project the element of fantasy it needed.


I finally decided turning the pegasus into a kind of recipient for a scene taking place: a character advancing towards the horizon, looking for a new adventure. In that way, it connected better with the universe I’d worked previously on “The Arcade Dream”. For the back cover, again, I followed the same formula as in the first album.

Aesthetically, colour had to be very important, as well as technique. I was inspired by animation series from the beginning of the 90s and by some 80s artists with a very particular technique, such as Stansilaw Fernandes, who totally fascinates me.