51-year-old Alex Queral carves phone-books to create amazing portraits of celebrities such as Clint Eastwood or Kirk Douglas.
‘In carving and painting a head from a phone-book directory, I’m celebrating the individual lost in the anonymous list of thousands of names that describe the size of the community.’ That’s how Alex Queral explains his art, adding that he also enjoys creating an ‘object of longevity’ out of something that otherwise gets discarded every year.
The Philadelphia based artist got the idea of using phone-books as an art medium, 14 years ago, while he was looking for some wood to carve. He spotted a pile of discarded phone-books on the pavement, and the idea just hit him. Since people mostly use the internet, to look for things these days, most phone books just get dumped somewhere, so he sees his art as a way of recycling them.
Alex Queral carves up to two phone-book sculptures a month, then paints them with transparent acrylic paint, to make them durable and give them a glossy finish. So far, Queral has immortalized iconic figures like the Dalai Lama, Barrack Obama, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and many others.
The artist admits it’s pretty difficult to deal with a careless cut that ruins everything, right when he’s about to finish a piece. But all he can do is start his carving all over again.