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Extraordinary Portraits on Floopy Disks & Cassettes

Nick Gentry is an artist and he is one of a very few people who still use the floppy discs to do the job. Well, he doesn’t use them to store the data but he uses them as a material for his interesting artworks. He recovers old and obsolete media storage and turns them into a medium for his expressive paintings. Gentry assembles obsolete tech materials into a workable canvas for his portraits, letting the shape and labels of the floppies peek through the painting to give character to the faces he paints. The writing on the labels are often left readable, provoking the viewer to wonder about the information trapped within.

Each piece starts with either some preparatory sketching of an imaginary person, or searching for images of faces. The features are then mapped into a grid, with each section the size of one disk. The disks are then placed in tonally appropriate areas (almost like pixels) to create a collage. On top of this, the outline of the head and the details are sketched in pencil, with oil paint to emphasise the features. This process is quite selective as only certain sections are finished completely. The unfinished aspect allows the viewer to see the layers, showing how the work has been created.

The personal information that exists inside of each disk is forever locked down underneath the paint. Mysteriously though, the handwritten labels on each disk are often left to show through, giving a clue as to what lies beneath. This is a reflection of online culture, where information is permanently stored, but with varying levels of access.

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