'analogue to digital' series of celebrity keyboard portraits by WBK
'analogue to digital' series of celebrity keyboard portraits by WBK 'analogue to digital' series of celebrity keyboard portraits by WBK
aug 28, 2012

'analogue to digital' series of celebrity keyboard portraits by WBK

‘analogue to digital’ series of celebrity keyboard portraits by WBK all images courtesy the artist 63cm x 63cm



australian artist WBK or works by knight has developed a series of portraits which pay tribute to various individuals whose influence helped change the realities of technology and mass media through out the 20th and 21st centuries. WBK builds all of his mosaic artworks from images of letter components from the keyboards of antiquated analog and digitized devices to create mosaic representations of famous figures from popular culture. the faces of celebrities and visionaries like astronaut neil armstrong, rapper tupac, politician aung san suu kyi mp ac, or olympian usain bolt are realized through the strategic placement of worn letter and number type parts of various shapes and sizes.


shown above: ‘WBK nelson mandela’ ‘nelson rolihlahla mandela born 18 july 1918 is a south african politician who served as president of south africa from 1994 to 1999, the first ever to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. before being elected president, mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, and the leader and co-founder of umkhonto we sizwe, the armed wing of the african national congress (anc). in 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment. mandela went on to serve 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on robben island. following his release from prison on 11 february 1990, mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to the establishment of democracy in 1994. as president, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation, while introducing policies aimed at combating poverty and inequality in south africa. in south africa, mandela is often known as madiba, his xhosa clan name; or as tata. mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades, including the 1993 nobel peace prize.’ -WBK



‘WBK neil armstrong’




‘a large part of my work makes reference and is influenced by the transition from analogue to digital. using old type sets, type writer keys, analogue numbers, analogue timepieces (clock faces) etc. to represent the analogue era. the digital era suggested with computer keys, calculator buttons phone buttons, etc.‘ -WBK



‘WBK bono U2’



‘hattie mcdaniel’




‘hattie mcdaniel (june 10, 1895 – october 26, 1952) was an american actress. mcdaniel was the first black person to win an academy award. she won the award for best supporting actress for her role of mammy in gone with the wind (1939). in addition to having acted in many films, mcdaniel was a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star; she was the first black woman to sing on the radio in america. [1][2] over the course of her career, mcdaniel appeared in over 300 films, although she received screen credits for only about 80. she gained the respect of the african american show business community with her generosity, elegance, great beauty, and charm.’ -WBK



‘aung san suu kyi mp ac’




‘aung san suu kyi mp ac (burmese: ; mlcts: aung hcan: cu. krany, ipa: [ʔàʊɴ sʰáɴ sṵ tɕì]; born 19 june 1945) is a burmese opposition politician and general secretary of the national league for democracy (nld) in burma. in the 1990 general election, the nld won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in parliament. she had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. she remained under house arrest in burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 july 1989 until her most recent release on 13 november 2010,[9] becoming one of the world’s most prominent (now former) political prisoners.‘ -WBK



‘barry weiss’






‘usain bolt’



‘ryan gosling’




‘the hand made days are gone. our food, our clothes, our furniture, our homes, our lives are manufactured. life is factory made. WBK is factory made art for a manufactured world. with a quite reflection on an analogue past.‘ -WBK





‘hugh laurie aka house’, 2012



‘dr. dre’

via visual news / houhouhaha

  • pretty sure anyone could randomly generate these kinds of images,
    wheres the innovation here?

    next please

    Joe the plumber says:
  • We have seen these kind of pictures made of pencils, sponges, post-its, beads… there must be an app for this!
    After all you just need a pixelated picture and some colormatching skills.

    Who made the real photo-portraits in the first place?

    oliver says:
  • agreed. there is an over-abundance of these mosaic, tiled portraits and they always get loads of exposure on design blogs. there is limited innovation and the materials used rarely have any relevance to the subjects of the portraits, who are almost inevitably celebrities.

    SKafker says:
  • “Australian artist WBK or works by knight has developed a series of portraits which pay tribute to various individuals whose influence helped change the realities of technology and mass media through out the 20th century.” Such as the actor Ryan Gosling and the character House played by actor in a TV series – what moving, thought provoking work this is…

    Deva says:
  • I aree with the other comments about this process being obviously automated. I enjoy most of the content on db, but the lack of proper explanation is frustrating sometimes. If something is concept art for a future unmade project it should say so, and if, like in the case of this post, it’s digitally produced and not a physical construction it should indicate so.

    Paul says:
  • provocateur?


    dbkii says:
  • Um, @Deva, I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with the internet/the idea of moveable mass culture the past 10 years but Ryan Gosling as a pop culture icon is totally revolutionary. especially the way he is celebrated. [url=http://feministryangosling.tumblr.com/] feminist ryan gosling [/url]. HELLO?!?!?

    JMT says:
  • Hmmmm…. I think I like it. Very much.

    Bono, of the band U2 says:
  • i try respect the artist for what she trying to do, but i think you (comments) have a true point about the man made v. computer generated trait.

    does any person here kno where i buy this app?

    amélie says:
  • I think the comments regarding this blog post have certainly turned into a look into what the design-educated public now accepts as ‘art’ or ‘not art’ in a highly digitized society. This conversation reminds me of a discussion my colleagues and I had about the evolution of photography and the blessing and curse that is ‘Instagram’ and other similar applications in recent years to this particular field of artistry. why is the artist’s work any less impressive if each of the photos were arranged by hand? I know I couldn’t replicate this project without this app you all have mentioned… does this app exist yet?

    David KW says:
  • Like they say; there’s an app for that

    I don’t know if it is the same type of generator, but didn’t designboom release something that generates images out of numbers or something like that? I can’t seem to find the article, but it was along the same lines.

    With coding advancing and technology progressing, I couldn’t agree more with @Paul with the fact limited innovation leads to lower calibre work/craft. Originality exists once. The 2nd iteration becomes just as repetitive as the 30th.

    Shawn B. says:

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