Week 1: Physical Pixels


Assignment & Inspiration
The assignment to create a physical image with non-traditional pixels immediately brought to mind the crop art of my youth. The annual Minnesota State Fair is known for, among many things, butter sculptures of county dairy princesses, deep fried cheese (yum!), and art made from the seeds of local crops (on display in the agricultural building, of course). For me the crop art aesthetic is completely tied up in the labor involved: I’m infatuated by the meticulousness required to secure each seed in position. 

Lately I’ve been enamored with satellite images from the Earth View from Google Earth Chrome extension. The photographs compact dense amounts of information, and I find the abstract results in the extension's gallery breathtaking. At some point it occurred to me to attempt a seed rendition a la the State Fair using a MN satellite snapshot as inspiration. I wanted to use seeds from the region, too, but next time.

Materials & Tools
Blick Premier Artists' Panel 12" x 12", 7/8" thickness
Black Poster Board 10" x 10"
Brown Lentils
Green Split Peas
Petite Black Lentils
White Arborio Rice
Multipurpose Spray Adhesive


Though not a fan of the resulting image, I gained a profound appreciation for the pixel. When you work with tweezers, you care about every single one. You quickly see how one slight nudge or discoloration contributes to the entire the composition. Moving nearly every pea became a meditation on how each pixel related to each other and on the distortions of photographic images and maps in general.