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Ecstasy Self Portrait Q & A
with Bonnie Molins

Q - What are you trying to say by using ecstasy pills to create portraits?
A - Basically, here is what I can do, right now, with what I have. I got that line off of a fortune cookie, but I really like it. Speaking more specifically about my art and my intentions behind creating a self-portrait made with ecstasy pills, it is about collecting information off the Internet and remixing it into something I can call my own. My XTC self-portrait is also about what I can do with Adobe Photoshop, which is the standard computer graphics application. I try to make artwork that when you first see it, there is no doubt in your mind that it was made on a computer.

Q - What gave you the idea in the first place?
A - I have been making pixelated style portraits with bar codes for the past 4 years. XTC pills come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, which makes them good for a digital halftone. All of the benday dots in Roy Liechtenstein’s paintings looked the same but they were not the same. I create every tile in my artwork to have a unique character. The pills also have logos on them, which adds another conceptual level to the image.

Q - What is the significance of creating an image of yourself with ecstasy pills?
A - I am the creator of the image. I am the best person to take a picture of the exact image I’m looking for. I am responsible for the way I look, I took the picture, and I arranged the pills into a painterly pattern. It is my face and my seal of authenticity for this piece of art. I plan on using the same photo of myself for several new images using the XTC pills.

Q - What is the significance of the 'x'?
A - The obvious reason I drew an "X" on my forehead is because common slang for ecstasy is simply "X".

I’m really into writing on my face. The first person I can remember drawing something on their forehead was the serial killer, Charles Manson. I know that Manson has a swastika now, but it was first just an X to get people’s attention. I’m trying to turn it up as loud as it will go.

One artist that has inspired my art in a big way is Chuck Close. He said that he never tried to "turn it up" when he shot pictures for his portraits. I am reacting to portraits done in the past, and a significant part of my time and the people I’ve portrayed with barcodes is how they turn it up. When I put my face in the mix, next to celebrities, I have to do something special. I have reserved writing on forehead and using a color palate for creating self-portraits.

Q - Any new portraits you’re creating from ecstasy pills?
A - I just got started with these ecstasy pills and I plan on making several other images with them. One reason I was drawn to these pills was because of the psychedelic quality, and I want to push that hallucinatory element in my artwork. I’m working on new grid layouts that spin the pills into a radial pattern.

I would really like to use my XTC halftone to portray Dancesafe’s founder, Emanuel Sferios, because without him none of this data would be possible.

Email, August 2002
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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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on Soul Coffee Website
by Geoff Pitchford
August 2005
Interview with Scott Blake
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by FryCookOnVenus
September 2004
The Fine Art of Bar Codes
in The Reader Newspaper
by Jeremy Schnitker
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February 2004
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in The District Newspaper
by Craig Oelrich
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Macro/micro, subversion, and celebration
by Alessandro Imperato
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Ecstasy Self Portrait Q & A
by Bonnie Molins
August 2002
Original Artist Statement and FAQ
May 2001
Barcode artist Scott Blake digitizes human expressions
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Omaha Barcode Artist Scans Famous, Infamous Faces
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Omaha, Nebraska
October 2009
Black is Beautiful
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by Sven Fortmann
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You're not special
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by DocHoloday
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Get acquainted, Scott Blake
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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
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October 2003
The Body-Mined Show Catalog
by Glenn Zucman
Long Beach, California
January 2003
Abrstraction, "Capitalist Realist",
and the system

by Alessandro Imperato
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Enrayer le code
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by Vanina Pinter
July 2002
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