Filter out the shit

One day I thought I had an original idea, I hadn’t of course. Upon emptying out a pocket full of loose cigarette filter tips from my pocket one day, I considered them as looking a lot like pixels. I thought that gathering enough of them together I could make some images out of them. I had seen Bradley Harts work (bellow) a few weeks before and this must have been my attempt at something as smart. Attempt.

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I obviously googled to check if anyone had made images with cigarette filters before, and obviously… they had. Jinks Kunst made a giant image of the french singer Serge Gainsbourg out of 20,394 used cigarette filters. Far from being deterred by this I was able to make some distinctions between Kunst’s piece and the work I wanted to make. The work I would be making would be with fresh filter tips and would be dyed in inks. These differences were enough to encourage me to carry on. I also saw some of Moses Nornberg’s work. Notably his show, Sound of Bullets. It features a similar method of using objects as pixels. His work communicates a political notion quickly and convincingly.


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Originally I tried many different methods of producing an image with the filters. I thought I would start simple and make black and white images of people. But the images where poorly made and the method of using pins and pva glue was not terribly efficient.

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Then I took some time (I made the picture above back home in bournemouth by the way), I got back to London and spent more time doing tests and trying to refine the image. The process eventually got quicker and looked better. Its still a work in progress and so far nothing I’ve produced is up to scratch. But its fun.

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