Living Grass Portraits Created by Photosynthesis

We’ve all heard the saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side” but it turns out that the grass is actually always greener where it gets the most intense light. Using this tid-bit of gardening wisdom, British artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey have created a series of large scale portraits using living grass as their canvas. The artists project a negative image of a photograph onto a wall-mounted sheet of grass seedlings on clay, in a dark room, and photosynthesis takes care of the rest. The grass grows in shades of green directly proportional to the amount of light they receive, thus creating a tinted image of the photo.

Up close it may just look like a field of grass, but from far away the living image looks like a verdant version of the original photograph. The portraits can last for months, even years, becoming sharper as they grow, then slowly fading away. By “going green” with their art, Ackroyd & Harvey hope to bring awareness to environmental issues; such as, climate change, renewable energy sources, and deforestation. They have received two “RSA Art For Architecture Awards”, the “Wellcome Sci-Art”, the “NESTA Pioneering Award” and “L’Oreal Art and Science of Colour Grand Prize”. Check out more of the duo’s work, including their contribution to the upcoming Summer Olympics, on their website.

Video by Gardner Museum

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