Scott Blake

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Scott Blake
Scott Blake.jpg
Scott Blake
Born (1976-10-20) October 20, 1976 (age 42)
Tampa, Florida, United States
EducationSavannah College of Art and Design
Known forNew Media, Postmodernism, Existentialism
Notable work
Barcode Jesus, Barcode Yourself, Downloading Pixels, 9/11 Flipbook
AwardsAdobe Design Achievement Award, Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award

Scott Blake (born Tampa, Florida, October 20, 1976) is an American artist.[1] Nearing the turn of the 3rd millennium, Blake created a series of artworks that involved reworkings of barcodes to create artwork. Barcode art was something that quickly became an Internet meme. It is largely unknown exactly where this fad originated from. His work has been shown at various galleries and featured in magazines such as The New York Times, FHM, and Adbusters. His site has also been translated in many languages. For his efforts and vision, he was recognized by the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. He currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

Similar to the works of pop art, Blake elected to use usual everyday images to produce his art. His early works were based entirely on the idea of creating images and art from barcodes, which are ubiquitous in today's world. But unlike pop art, he used barcodes as a tool and image, such as his portraits which were made entirely from bar codes. Blake had started this project around the time of the Y2K bug and the turn of the 21st century. Around this time, there was a craze with barcode style artworks and designs. It is unclear whether Blake had direct input on this popularized phenomena.

In 2003, Blake created Downloading Pixels which shows a progression of downloaded pixels that in turn become an image that could be viewed on a monitor or mobile device. Like John F. Simon Jr.'s Every Icon, each pixel is an image that loads up at different intervals to make the image seem like an animation, caused by the changing pixels. Both Every Icon and Downloading Pixels use a system of algorithms with basic image data to form images. Visitors to the website can adjust the size of the overall image by selecting from many image sizes (such as 48x48, 192x192, 300x300, or a very large 972x972). There are also options for different styles, which define styles and colors. After the settings are adjusted, the image is then based on the browser technology, internet connection speed, and device. So this work looks differently on an iPhone as compared to a PC running Mozilla FireFox.

In November 2010, artist Chuck Close threatened legal action against Scott Blake for creating a Photoshop filter that built images out of dissected Chuck Close paintings.[2][3] The story was first reported by online arts magazine Hyperallergic, it was reprinted on the front page of, and spread rapidly through the web.[4] Kembrew McLeod, author of several books on sampling and appropriation, said in Wired that Scott Blake's art should fall under the doctrine of fair use.[5]


Blake graduated from Brandon Senior High School in Tampa, Florida in 1995.[6] He received a BFA in computer art from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2003.[7]


9/11 Flipbook by Scott Blake

Blake created a flipbook consisting of images of United Airlines Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Accompanying the images are essays written by a wide range of participants, each expressing their personal experience of the September 11 attacks. In addition, the authors of the essays were asked to reflect on, and respond to, the flipbook itself. Not surprisingly, the majority of the essayists experienced the events through news network footage. Blake is distributing his 9/11 Flipbooks to encourage a constructive dialog regarding the media's participation in sensationalizing the tragedy. To further illustrate his point, Blake conducted a media study using the 9/11 TV News Archive to count the number of times major news networks showed the plane crashes, building collapses, and people falling from the towers on September 11, 2001.[8]

According to Blake's media study, CNN showed the planes hitting the towers 109 times between 9 a.m. and midnight, or about once every eight minutes. The BBC showed the same footage 240 times, roughly 16 times per hour. CNN also showed the collapse of the towers repeatedly — 161 times, or once every five minutes. One of the essays, written by a New York resident, includes a wry remark about how, despite the resident's close proximity to the towers from his rooftop on 9/11, he had a "better view on the TV." The 9/11 Flipbook project is ongoing and Blake is still accepting written reactions to it.[9]


  1. ^ Daily Mail "Scan you believe it? Barcode art turns celebrity portraits into film clips." Accessed May 2012.
  2. ^ Masnick, Mike. "Chuck Close Succeeds In Stifling A Creative Homage... But Only For Another 100 Years Or So!", Techdirt, July 16, 2012. Retrieved on January 27, 2018.
  3. ^ Doctorow, Cory. "Letter to Chuck Close from the digital artist whom he threatened with a lawsuit", BoingBoing, July 11, 2012. Retrieved on January 27, 2018.
  4. ^ Vartanian, Hrag. "The Most Popular Hyperallergic Posts of 2012", Hyperallergic, December 26, 2012. Retrieved on January 27, 2018.
  5. ^ Dayal, Geeta. "How the Artist Who Built the 'Chuck Close Filter' Got Slammed by Chuck Close", Wired, July 10, 2012. Retrieved on January 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "Brandon native turns bar codes into works of art". Tampa Bay Online News. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  7. ^ "2003 Alumni - Where are they now". Savannah College of Art and Design Alumni. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "Understanding 9/11: A Television News Archive". Internet Archive. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  9. ^ "Art Imitates Death by Michel Cicero". Ventura County Reporter Newspaper. Retrieved September 3, 2012.