Chilean artist Carlos Zuniga creates detailed portraits and images by simply striking out names from phone book pages, with black ink. Sounds simple enough, but the results are awe-inspiring.
Carlos Zuniga isn’t the first artist to use phone books as the main medium for his works. Alex Queral has also been using them to carve his amazing celebrity portraits, but Zuniga developed his own artistic technique, which allowed him to differentiate himself from everyone in the art world.
Asked how he came up with this unique way of creating detailed images, the South American artist says it all started with a project he did back in 2006, called The Origin of Species. Inspired by the Ludovico technique used in the 1971 film the A Clockwork Orange, he began striking out every line of text from Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species. Throughout the whole process, he couldn’t stop thinking about how to depict his ideas in a figurative way. Figurative representation had always been a great interest to him, but his drawing skills were lousy, and after eight years of taking classes, he felt frustrated.
But Zuniga wasn’t going to abandon his passion just because he didn’t have a talent for drawing. After 10 years of working as a designer in an editorial business, the idea of “making strokes” had become a part of him, so when he made The Origins of Species, he realized striking out was going to be the foundation of his figurative representations. It took a lot of trial and error before he perfected his technique, but he is now fully aware of his evolution, and constantly working on improving his skill.
In his series, Imperial Poem, Carlos Zuniga used Chinese ink to strike out names from Argentinian phone books to create detailed portraits and images from the Falkland Islands. “The result is a monochrome pattern that, from a certain distance, and also by optical effect, gives form to the images of the Falklands. For me, showing this work makes me responsible for the images and their content. The system I have developed allows me to get in touch with society in order to communicate matters that interest me”, the artist says about his works.