Life Mask or DNA Mask?

Throughout history, artists have based portraits on the sitter or his or her likeness. Sometimes the subject modeled in person; other times the artist used an extant photograph, bust, or portrait. Occasionally the artist created the portrait from memory or even imagination. Franz von Stuck combined these techniques for his depiction of Beethoven.

Today, some contemporary artists are creating likenesses of people based on their DNA. Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates portraits of strangers from the DNA she finds on chewing gum and cigarette butts. 

    —Kaywin Feldman, director and president, August 27


Photo: Kari Mulholland/TED

Source: Christina Hernandez Sherwood, “Q&A: Heather Dewey-Hagborg, information artist, on the intersection of art and science,” Smart Planet, August 26, 2013