Artist Uses Recurring Words to Create Detailed Portraits

Vietnamese-born photographer and artist Huy Lam uses tiny 4 point type recurring words and phrases to create beautiful portraits of modern and historical icons.

The Toronto-based artist has always been fascinated with the concept of perception, and the way we form opinions based on what we perceive as real.  At a glance, his works look like they’ve been painted or drawn with pencil or charcoal, but as you approach them further, you realize they’re made with an entirely different medium – differently colored words.  Through his art, Huy Lam tries to convey the concept of perception, but he also hopes that these images created with words “will provoke thought, discussion and even laughter.” But the hours he spends actually placing thousands of 4 point type words in just the right spots to create detailed portraits is no laughing matter.

What can I say, its Bob Marley. I really like how his dreads turned out.


This is my favorite piece that I’ve done so far. I really wanted to do something different with lots of color and a Van Gogh painting was perfect. I had to create 42 brushes and it took me close to 40 hours to complete because of the details. It was at The National Gallery in Ottawa where I saw Van Gogh’s iris series that I really appreciated his work and realized that he is truly a GENIUS.


Heath Ledger’s role as The Joker has helped make the movie The Dark Night into the new gold standard in comic book movies. From my perspective, his unfortunate and untimely death is “Such A Shame”.


Darth Vader may be Luke Skywalker’s father, but he certainly is “Not My Father” 🙂

Photos by Huy Lam via Laughing Squid.

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