Retrospekt’s Polaroid 600 InstantArt is an Ode to the 80s in More Ways Than One

Image of a Polaroid camera and its packaging. The camera is pink, black, and white with a flash unit and color film inside. Next to it is the product box with vibrant designs, and in the foreground, there are various stickers and decals for customization.

Retrospekt, a Milwaukee-based design studio that refurbishes retro cameras, announced the InstantArt limited-edition series of Polaroid 600 instant film cameras that features pixelated aesthetics of 1980s computer graphics emblazoned on a camera that debuted in 1981. Fitting!

Retrospekt refurbishes classic Polaroids but also has its own line of compact film cameras. It also often partners with artists and brands to give these retro cameras a fancy coat of paint. It’s featured Howard Schultz’s Peanuts, the work of Even Weslmann, the look of Santa Cruz’s Killer Acid, and even Sanrio in the past (twice).

A retro Polaroid instant camera with a vibrant pink front panel, blue geometric design, and white and black detailing. The camera features a built-in flash, viewfinder, and various buttons. A green label with "Polaroid" is on the flash housing.

“The InstantArt series is a natural evolution of Retrospekt’s mission to breathe new life into vintage electronics. Combining its passion for analog technology with a love of bold, playful design, the company has created a unique instant film camera that doubles as a functional art object,” Retrospekt says.

The InstantArt isn’t made in conjunction with a specific artist this time, instead relying on Retrospekt’s own team to bring three different camera designs that feature a “vibrant amalgamation of geometric patterns and bold color blocking,” exuding a vibe from the pixelated aesthetics of the 1980s and 1990s with yellows, pinks, blues, and pixel art symbols. Retrospekt is going for a nostalgia bomb here by combining a 1980s-era camera with computer graphics from the same period.

A retro Polaroid instant camera with a neon green and pink front panel, a blue button on the side, and a blue Polaroid label on the flash area. The camera has a distinct vintage design with a pop of vibrant colors. .

“Growing up in the early days of home computing, I spent countless hours experimenting with programs like MS Paint and MacPaint, pixel by pixel, shape by shape, color by color,” Retrospekt Creative Director Michael Kempen says. “With InstantArt, we wanted to pay homage to that era of unbridled digital creativity and its enduring influence on visual culture. These cameras celebrate the joy, quirkiness, and unmistakable style that defined a generation’s first forays into digital art.”

As is the case with all of the Polaroids Retrospekt sells, the InstantArt Polaroid 600 cameras are built and refurbished from authentic camera components from the 1980s and 1990s, put back together, and fine-tuned to ensure they function just as if they were brand new. The plastic shell is newly molded, but the internals are vintage.

A vintage Polaroid instant camera with a blue and white body and a pink Polaroid logo at the top. The camera features a yellow grid pattern on the flash area, a viewfinder, and a red button on the left side. The front has "InstantArt" written in yellow text.

Retrospekt leaned into the vintage vibes of this particular camera even further in the packaging, as the boxes are meant to look like shrink-wrapped computer programs. Each box also includes sticker sheets that extend the theme and allow for customization.

As parts are limited, there are only a “handful of units available” that feature the InstantArt design. Those are available through Retropekt’s website, although the company says a majority of units will be released in Asia through a retail partnership. Pricing was not shared in advance of publication.

Image credits: Retrospekt