UK-based artist Joe Black uses thousands of small objects – ranging from toy soldiers to plastic flowers to chess pieces – to create his large scale mosaic works. Black has made many portraits of famous people, including David Bowie and Barack Obama. But my favorite is Ways of Seeing, a huge eyeball made of 15,000 painted test tubes.
Black says that while he will use practically anything that is small enough to build large images and create vast tonal effects, he is careful to select a medium that not only meets those requirements but is also relevant to the subject he’s depicting. The connections between the image of eye, the scientific connotations of the test tubes and the idea of art and science as ways of seeing are all fairly clear. His reasons for also building his portrait of Bowie out of test tubes remain slightly more obscure.
You can see more of Joe Black’s work at his website.