Los Angeles-based artist Allison Cortson collects dust and uses it to paint portraits.
These paintings of people were actually made using dust collected from their homes.
For her series of Dust Paintings Allison decided to craft people in their environments out of an ephemeral material, dust. Through her dust paintings, she tries to emphasize the fact that "matter is mostly empty space” and it’s only through interactivity with living beings that they provide any value. She wants the figure’s presence to be vibrant and alive and for the background to appear light and ghost like as an elusive representation of physical space.
For these portraits, she took pictures of people (mostly her friends) doing everyday activities in their homes. The main concept of those photographs is that people feel relaxed and often even forget about the fact that they are being photographed.
Then over a period of months Allison collects the dust from people’s homes via emptying their vacuum bags. Interesting fact: the older we get, the more dust we produce. Dust it is made up of 70 per cent dead skin.
The paintings are completed by rendering the subject in a realistic manner with oil paints and the rest of the environment is made only out of the dust, which is sprinkled on the canvas and manipulated with a brush. When finished the dust is coated with an acrylic sealer.
"I am pretty quick when it comes to painting, depending on the size it takes me a week or two to finish," Ms. Cortson says. "There aren't any special tools I use, except a fine mesh strainer I bought from a cooking store to sift out the dust.
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