Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Putting a price code on art

I came across this news story about an artist, Scott Blake, who composes portraits just using bar codes. I like the creative use of such a ubiquitous element of our lives but I wish he would do more with it than celebrity portraits (also Madonna, Oprah, Marilyn, Ozzy, etc.). I thought it was a statement about the commercialization of culture ("Ring up Bruce Lee in aisle 3") but the closest Blake alludes to it is this comment:

"One of the most interesting comments I got was from a Jehovah's Witness; they saw Bar code Jesus as representing 'The price He paid for our sins'."

But given his other comments it sounds like he was just looking for a tool to design with and bar codes served his purpose rather than him trying to make a larger point about commerce and art:

"I was looking for a black and white shape that could be repeated and modified to create grey tones in a digital mosaic.

Interesting idea and execution but a missed opportunity, I think.

Here is the Daily Mail article on Scott Blake's work