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These Pixelated Portraits Are Created Using Something Unexpected, But Genius.

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When you hear “pixelated,” you probably think of an image that”s computer generated. That”s not always the case, though. This images are made of paper and, yes, they are pixellated.

Not only that, but they”re more than a static mosaic of cut paper. These images are dynamic, appearing to change as the viewer changes position.

San Francisco-based artist Peter Combe creates realistic portraits using, of all things, paint swatches, the little cards showing paint colors that you can get at the hardware store. Combe cuts them into circles, and arranges them carfully into a scale-like pattern to create his images. Because the “scales” are arranged at an angle instead of lying flat, the image they create shifts in color and intensity depending on where you”re standing.

The full images are realistic portraits.

Depending on the angle of the scales, Combe can control how drastic a shift occurs when the piece is viewed.

Depending on the color of the paint on the swatch, the reflected light will be different on the reverse side.

The reverse side only shows the colors” reflections, making the colors appear misty and subtle.

Arranging the scales in two different directions creates different effects when viewed from different angles.

The circles of paper used to create the images.

On one side, the swatches show a color, and on the other, there”s simply the white cardstock and the paint company”s text. If you”re standing on the side where the text faces you, the color appears muted, visible only in the reflections on the white card. From the other side, though, the colors appear much more vibrant. Sometimes, Combe switches up the directions in a single piece, so that there are two versions of the same image in one.

“I am consumed by the subtle magic that occurs when playing with light, color and movement in my art making,” Combe says.

There are so many different ways to look at this art…and all of them are wonderful.