The Incredible Dust Paintings

Los Angeles-based artist Allison Cortson collects dust from the homes of her subjects and incorporates the particles into the background of their portraits. Over a period of months, she collects dust from vacuum cleaners bags of her subjects and then painstakingly create the detail in the images by spraying glue onto the canvas and sprinkling it with the dust. Allison Cortson said dust is the perfect material because it is actually created by the people in the paintings. "I was sitting on the couch watching dust particles float around in the light coming through the window and the idea came to me. I'm interested in the fact that the older we get, the more dust we create - it is made up of 70 per cent dead skin. I enjoy painting people and thought dust would be the perfect material to represent them in their own environment." The painting is completed by rendering the subject in a realistic manner with oil paints and the rest of their environment is made solely out of the dust from their home, which she sprinkles dust into the background of the portrait and maneuvers the pieces with a brush. Finally, she coats the work with an acrylic sealer.