Innovative Artist Creates Beautiful Dust Paintings

Los Angeles-based artist Allison Cortson collects dust from her art-subjects’s homes and uses it to paint the background of their portraits. She started her series of “dusty” artworks, called Dust Paintings, several years ago, but she’s only just now getting the online exposure she so rightfully deserves.

Dust paintings…Now here’s something you don’t see every day, right? Well, actually, just a month ago we posted a story about Alessandro Ricci, an Italian artist who paints with dust collected from historical buildings in Florence. But while his dust creations are more like environmental statements against the pollution in his home city, Allison Cortson’s paintings are much more elaborate, and have a completely different purpose. Through her dust paintings, the artist tries to emphasize the fact that “matter is mostly empty space” and  it’s only through interactivity with living beings that they provide any value. That’s why, in all of her Dust Paintings artworks the human subjects are painted in color, while the background is recreated with dust.

What’s even more amazing is that Allison actually collects dust from each of her subject’s living space. Because some of her paintings are around 70-inches in size, the dust collecting process usually takes her a few months. As you can expect, she goes through people’s vacuums a lot… Once she has gathered enough dust, she renders the human subject in oil paint, and moves on to the bland background.  “I sprinkle the dust on the canvas and manipulate with a brush. When finished the dust is coated with an acrylic sealer”, Allison explains.