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Ackroyd & Harvey Paint Portraits Using Huge Panes Of Grass

The artists create magnificent natural portraits with clay, grass seeds, light, and some patience.

by Alexa Kestecher
Jul 12 2012, 8:15pm

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to morph into a Chia Pet? Perhaps not. British artists Ackroyd & Harvey, on the other hand, have dabbled in this phenomenon by creating a series of large-scale portraits using grass as their canvas. In a dark room, the artists project a negative image of a photograph onto a wall-mounted sheet of grass seedlings embedded in clay, and allow photosynthesis to finish off the job.

From a distance these grass portraits bear a shocking resemblance to the original photographs they mimic. Up close, however, it's pretty clear that these works are 100% natural grass, baby. With the ability to last anywhere from months to years, the portraits grow in shades of green proportional to the amount of light they absorb. Where the most light is shown, the grass is greenest, and where there is the least light, it’s yellow, and every degree in between yields a corresponding shade. And there you have it—a tinted image that substitutes the need for photo paper allowing you to go green, literally.

Testament, 2011.

Face to Face, 2012.

Face to Face, 2012.

Big Chill, 2007.

Presence, 2011.

Sunbathers, 2000.

Park Ave + Resident, 2011.

Photos courtesy of Ackroyd & Harvey.

Dan Harvey
Heather Ackyroyd
Living Grass Portraits