Tuesday 23 January 2018

How a creative made this exquisite Mars portrait out of real rust

Inspired by the reason the Red Planet is red, Barry Abrams’ work is a clever masterpiece.

The Mars artwork
The Mars artwork

By Edd Dracott

Mars is red because of an abundance of iron oxide in its surface material – put simply, it’s covered in rust.

So, when the creative and planet-loving Barry Abrams made a portrait of the Red Planet, he decided to make it using the very thing which gives it its fiery hue.

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A close up of his Mars piece

The 34-year-old is a web designer and developer based in Champaign, Illinois by day, but a passionate screen printer in his evenings.

He started his piece with a square of sheet metal.

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The sheet of metal

He then used adhesive vinyl to create circular masks on the metal – to imitate the round shape of the planet.

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The metal with the cut outs on them

Then comes the clever bit.

Abrams sprayed the metal with hydrogen peroxide, causing the metal to rust – which is quite a sight.

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Then, after removing the mask, Abrams sprayed the metal with a coating to protect the other areas of metal from rusting.

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Using Photoshop, Abrams made a positive image of Mars.

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The Mars picture

He then used this to screen print the image of Mars onto the rust.

Burning a screen covered in emulsion, lighter areas allow ink to pass through.

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The screen printing

Then, after a quick blow with a heat gun to cure the ink…

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… Abrams’ inspired masterpiece was finished.

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The finished piece

“The Mars print was actually pretty straightforward to make,” Abrams told the Press Association. “I knew I could get the metal to rust in a selective area, but I didn’t know if the black ink would adhere to the metal.

“Luckily with some coaxing from a heat gun, it did!”

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A close up of the work

“I’ve been screen printing out of my basement for the last year or so,” said Abrams. “The posters I print mostly are space-themed.”

Indeed they are – just take a look at the art show Abrams put on at a gallery in April this year.

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Planets made by Abrams

Truly an out-of-this-world talent.

To see more of Abrams’ work, click here.

Press Association

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