Scott Blake's Portraits in Barcodes, CD Covers, and Ecstasy Pills


Laughing Squid tipped us off to the work of artist Scott Blake, in a post about his 2002 self-portrait in ecstasy pills, created in Photoshop with images he downloaded from the pill-testing clearinghouse DanceSafe. Our curiosity about the artist’s other work led us to his website, where we found a motherlode of other witty and thought-provoking pictures of pop-culture icons. Blake uses CD and book covers, text, and barcodes to make portraits of famous people rendered in the products they sell us, directly or indirectly. His work — which also includes clocks, net art, collages, and paintings — is a reminder of the relationship between the commercial world and the people we both admire and revile. Ten of our favorite Blake portraits are after the jump.

Scott Blake, Ecstasy Self-Portrait, 2002

Scott Blake, Barcode Jesus, 1999, 54” x 54”

Scott Blake, UPC A/Andy Warhol/Campbell’s Soup/Chicken with Rice, Bean with Bacon, 2001, 50” x 50”

Blake created the image using supermarket barcodes for the two types of soup that appear in Warhol’s 1962 painting, Campbell’s Soup Cans (Chicken with Rice, Bean with Bacon).

Scott Blake, ISBN/Charles Manson/Books, 2003, 54” x 54”

The ISBNs that comprise Blake’s portrait were taken from four books about Manson.

Scott Blake, UPC A/Schwarzenegger/Movies, 2003, 84” x 84”

Created using 86 DVD and VHS barcodes from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films.

Scott Blake, CD Cover Madonna, 2001, 50” x 50”

This image is a collection of thumbnail images of Madonna’s CD cover art, which Blake downloaded from

Scott Blake, Hanoi Jane, 2001, 8.5” x 11”

Read about the text that appears in this rendering of Jane Fonda’s raised fist, and Blake’s process, here.

Scott Blake, Book Cover Oprah

Scott Blake, ISBN/Mao Tse-tung/Books, 2004, 84” x 84”

Scott Blake, Barcode Bill Gates, 1999, 54” x 54”