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Artist Creates Celebrity Portraits with Thousands of Suspended Buttons

Artist Augusto Esquivel is an expert at transforming mundane objects into spectacular works of art. One of his specialties is working with standard sewing buttons, which he uses to create stunning, larger-than-life celebrity portraits.

Augusto’s technique is as tedious as you’d imagine – it’s not an easy arranging thousands of buttons to form an easily recognisable pattern. To create a single portrait, he starts off by suspending hundreds of monofilament strings from the ceiling. Then, he threads black, white and grey buttons into those strings in a particular order.

Individually, these strings might not amount to much. But this is where Augusto works his magic – when he brings the strings together, pixelated images of popular icons emerge. Some of his most notable works include button portraits of stars like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Salvador Dali and James Dean.

Augusto-Esquivel

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English Artist Creates Detailed Button Mosaics

English artist Ann Carrington uses hundreds, sometimes thousands of everyday objects to create awe-inspiring mosaics.

Not everyone looks at buttons, safety pins or metal coins and sees art, but for Ann Carrington, “all objects are saturated with cultural meaning. Mundane objects like knives, gloves, shoes, shells and tin cans come with their own ready-made histories.” Whenever she decides on what material she’s going to use for a certain work, there’s a certain reason for her choice. For example, her Pearly Queens series made with buttons was inspired by the Pearly Queens and Kings fashion movement, in London, while her bluejeans-made flag of America is a homage to this iconic American symbol.

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Meet Dalton Stevens – The Button King

Dalton Stevens, from Bishopville, South Carolina, has earned the title of Button King after he spent 15 years stitching and gluing thousands of buttons on all sorts of objects.

The Button King’s story began one night in 1983, when his insomnia prevented him from falling asleep. Back then, television went off at two in the morning, so he had to find something to pass the time. Searching through his old things, he found an old denim jumpsuit and started sewing buttons on it. Two years and ten months later, Dalton was still a chronic insomniac, but his jumpsuit was covered with 16,333 buttons and weighed 16 pounds. Remarkably as that sounds, it was only the beginning of his incredible experience with buttons.

Even after completing his button tracksuit, Stevens kept attaching thousands of buttons on various stuff. He glued 3,005 buttons on his guitar and 517 buttons on his shoes. His banjo, piano and his 1983 Chevette soon followed, and before long, his unique occupation grabbed the attention of the media. He was featured on a local television show, from there on CNN, and pretty soon the entire world knew the story of the incredible Button King. He was invited on popular television shows like Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Geraldo, Regis & Kathy Lee, where he would wear a button-covered outfit and play his banjo.

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The Button and Pin Artworks of Ran Hwang

Instead of using pins and buttons to stitch-up clothes, Korean-born artist Ran Hwang uses them to create gigantic installations in the shape of birds and cherry blossom trees.

To create her unique artworks, Ran Hwang hammers thousands of needles into a wall and hangs colorful pins from them. Seen from up close, her pin and button works look pixelated, but from afar, the whole piece seems to come together naturally. “My immense wall installations are extremely time consuming and repetitive manual work. This is a form of meditative practice that helps me find my inner peace. Like the monks practicing Zen facing the wall, my work is a form of performance that leads to finding oneself.” Hwang says about her unique technique.

Asked why she uses buttons as an art medium, the artist replies “because they are common and ordinary, like the existence of human beings”. She uses no glue in her art, so the buttons are free to move or fall at any time, which reflects the irresolute nature of human beings.

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