There’s an r/place for Everyone


Reddit brought back r/place for April Fools this year. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Lots of social media websites do fun things for April Fools’ Day. However, Reddit’s April Fools’ gag, r/place, takes the cake as not only the coolest gimmick but as one of the coolest pages on the internet.

Reddit debuted r/place on April Fools’ Day 2017. A kind of interactive public art project, r/place begins as a blank, 1000×1000-pixel canvas. Each user can place one pixel at a time, with a cooldown time of five minutes before placing another. In 2017, r/place was up for 72 hours. During that time, users filled the canvas with flags, artwork, logos and pop culture references.

This year, Reddit brought back r/place for April Fools’ Day, and users leaped at the chance to create something again. Reddit also doubled the canvas size (from 1000×1000 pixels to 2000×2000 pixels) and expanded the color palette available to users. The result is an insanely complicated, beautiful tapestry of internet artistry. You can view the canvas at, and I highly encourage you to explore it.

In 2017, r/place was brand new, and the canvas was relatively uncoordinated. When Reddit revealed that r/place would be happening again in 2022, users had time to prepare. Like the old one, the new canvas is covered in similar images to the previous canvas, but this year’s are far more complex. 

Still, some of the same images from the 2017 canvas appear on the 2022 edition. In 2017, a group of people decided they wanted to make the bottom right corner of the canvas blue. In 2022, Reddit users once again dedicated themselves to creating “the blue corner.” Unlike the fan bases and patriots responsible for most of the canvas’ artwork, the blue corner exists solely because people wanted a blue corner. The internet is a weird and wonderful place.

Because of the cooldown time and the sheer number of Reddit users placing pixels — at its peak, 2.5 million pixels per hour — it’s impossible for a single person to create anything noteworthy. Users had to work together to create art. As a result, r/place is a monument to the human powers of collaboration: This is what we can create when we put our minds to it. 

Chances are, your interests appear somewhere on r/place. Are you feeling patriotic? There’s a massive American flag in the bottom right section with the country’s most famous symbols drawn overtop: a bald eagle, the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty among other famous American icons. Or are you feeling patriotic for other countries? Most of the world’s flags can be found on r/place, from Azerbaijan to Peru and Canada to Lithuania. 

If country flags aren’t your thing, fear not. Are you a sports fan? Your favorite team’s logo is probably tucked somewhere in the pixels of r/place. Do you like “Star Wars?” Fans recreated the “A New Hope” poster and the lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Is anime more your speed? “One Piece” fans created several pieces of pixel art scattered across the canvas. Maybe you’re just in the mood for some cool artwork untied to popular culture, like a gorgeous recreation of “The Great Wave” or a pixel rendition of “Starry Night,” complete with a one-eared Vincent Van Gogh.

Fordham University briefly made itself a home on the canvas, though the logo didn’t survive to the end of r/place. (It did, however, outlast Columbia University.)

Watching r/place in progress was an incredible experience. I got to witness people working together and working against one another. I also got to place a few pixels of my own — I helped make a bisexual pride flag on the right side of the canvas.

Since the canvas was huge, I obviously couldn’t watch every “battle” happen at once, so I chose a couple to focus on. One of my favorite “battles” on the canvas was between the logos for “CS:GO” and “Fortnite,” which were placed directly across from each other. The gunman on the “CS:GO” logo appears to be aiming at his competitor, and users kept placing black pixels on the “Fortnite” logo to simulate bullet holes.

I watched fans of my favorite band, Muse, take control of a small space in the top left of the canvas. Working together, members of r/Muse created not only the band’s logo but 8×8 pixel art of all nine Muse album covers. That project began the first day of r/place, and the artwork survived fully intact until the canvas closed. Defending that small group of pixels took coordinated effort.

Defense was an important element of r/place. Sure, you could work together with a subreddit to create an image, but nothing prevents other users from replacing that image with their own. No one saw this more quickly than fans of the video game “Genshin Impact.” Without anyone defending the logo, the word “Genshin” became “GayShrek,” with an “Among Us” crewmate covering part of the logo. Eventually, the space split into pieces as communities carved out the remaining canvas space.

“Among Us” crewmates were a common theme in this year’s canvas. They’re insanely easy to draw — 16 pixels and two colors — and instantly recognizable. Users invaded larger works of art and placed crewmates that matched the existing colors. This resulted in images that looked fine from a distance but were ruined upon zooming in — a kind of sus impressionist effect.

On April 4, r/place officially ended. Its end, too, was surprisingly artistic: Reddit changed the settings so that users could only place white pixels. The white void steadily consumed the artwork until the entire canvas was blank again.

It’s unclear when — or if — Reddit will do r/place again, but I’m hopeful that it’ll come back someday. If 2022’s canvas was such an improvement over 2017, then I can’t wait to see what future iterations of r/place will bring. I look forward to seeing the creative power of the internet in action once again.