July 03, 2008

Grass Art

No, this is not some piece of artwork created under the influence of illegal narcotics, it's actually an amazing process developed by UK artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey where essentially photos are developed on grass. Sounds like a joke I know. Here's how it's done:
“When grass gets plenty of sunlight, it produces chlorophyll and therefore turns green – but the less light it receives, the more yellow the colour is,” explains JWT art director Mark Norcutt of the process used to make the work. “Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey discovered that by projecting a bright black-and-white negative image onto a patch of grass as it grows (in an otherwise dark room), they can use the natural photosensitive properties of the grass to reproduce photographs. From a distance it looks like any other monochrome photograph (albeit with a slightly unusual tint); up close, it looks like perfectly ordinary grass. But even individual blades sometimes have a range of hues, as any given cell can respond to the amount of light it receives.”

“Ackroyd and Harvey stumbled onto this technique after producing an installation that involved covering an indoor wall with living grass,” he continues. “A ladder was leaning against the wall, and the artists noticed that even after it was removed, a faint outline of the ladder remained on the grass. They set about experimenting with ways of enhancing this effect, and soon they were using a slide projector as an artificial light source for growing their unique photographs. A typical exposure time is just over a week, with the image projected for 12 hours a day.”


Wimbledon artwork by Heather Ackroyd & Dan Harvey for HSBC. Ad agency: JWT London.