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Barcode artist Scott Blake digitizes human expressions
by Andrea Ciurej
The work of barcode artist Scott Blake was featured as one of three Big Omaha art installations. Above, he poses in front of his barcode Warren Buffett piece created using barcodes from various products of Berkshire Hathaway companies. Photo by Andrea Ciurej.

The mission of KANEKO, the venue of the annual Big Omaha event, is to support and promote freedom in creativity, which begins with an idea and a vision to see things differently. Scott Blake, a 32-year-old Florida native, couldn't be promoting this mission any clearer with his 21st century barcode art resembling the most notable faces in modern culture.

Blake, a classically trained artist, studied figure drawing for three years and painted bowls of still-life fruit.

Now, instead of using a paintbrush with the flick of his wrist, Blake has converted to "painting" code using his fingers tips and a Mac computer.

Blake's first masterpiece was a barcode portrait sketch of Jesus (left) that he created in November 1998. The piece was inspired by an image scanned from a Shroud of Turin hologram card. The 50'' x 50'' image consists of 10,000 barcodes. Blake refined the piece in April 1999, which consists of 7,776 barcodes.

Since then, he has created more than 30 portraits using real Universal Product Codes (UPC) from items related to each individual he portrays. For example, he created a barcode portrait of Arnold Schwartzenegger using UPC numbers from 86 of the actor's films, such as Terminator and Predator. He has also created portraits of Madonna, Ozzy Osbourne and Oprah to name a few.

Blake was present on Friday, May 14, and Saturday, May 15, at Big Omaha. There, he shared barcode portraits of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Wine Library TV's Gary Vaynerchuk and the King of Rock 'n' Roll himself, Elvis Presley.

Blake, holding the barcode scanner, presents his barcode Gary Vaynerchuk piece to the man himself, Gary Vaynerchuk, who is standing by the computer monitor. Photo by Malone & Company Photography.

In between speaker presentations at Big Omaha, I sat down with Blake to learn about his endeavors as a barcode artist, his mission as an entrepreneur at Big Omaha and why he prefers to stay away from the art galleries with his 21st century masterpieces

Note: The work behind Blake is by Jun Kaneko: Untitled, Painting, acrylic on canvas, 1998. It's located in the small gallery at KANEKO.

Below, Blake is giving a demonstration of how his barcode masterpieces actually work.

Posted on Silicon Prairie News Website, May 18, 2010
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Scott Blake Interview
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Amazing portraits of Elvis and Madonna made entirely from bar codes
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Scott Blake: Behind Bars
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by Geoff Pitchford
August 2005
Interview with Scott Blake
on FryCookOnVenus website
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September 2004
The Fine Art of Bar Codes
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by Jeremy Schnitker
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February 2004
Creating art one pixel at a time
in The District Newspaper
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Ecstasy Self Portrait Q & A
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Barcode artist Scott Blake digitizes human expressions
on Silicon Prairie News website
by Andrea Ciurej
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Omaha Barcode Artist Scans Famous, Infamous Faces
on KETV News website
by John Oakey
Omaha, Nebraska
October 2009
Black is Beautiful
in Lowdown Magazine
by Sven Fortmann
Germany
August 2008
You're not special
on DocHoloday website
by DocHoloday
August 2007
Get acquainted, Scott Blake
in Inbox Magazine
by Andrey Oaheeb
Russia
February 2006
Madonna Portraits Q & A
August 2005
Bring Your Bar Codes
in Art Papers Magazine
by Kent Wolgamott
May 2005
Email from "Jesus"
September 2004
Finding Form in Bar-Code Function
on TechTV Live
by Andy Jordan
San Francisco, California
October 2003
The Body-Mined Show Catalog
by Glenn Zucman
Long Beach, California
January 2003
Abrstraction, "Capitalist Realist",
and the system

by Alessandro Imperato
Savannah, Georgia
November 2002
Enrayer le code
in Etapes Graphiques Magazine
by Vanina Pinter
France
July 2002
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