View a short video demonstrating the process
of "fingerpainting" the portraits on the iPhone
using the Brushes app.
John Bavaro: The iPhone Fayum Portraits
This series of work represents exquisite, time-intensive "faux antiquities” rendered in the Brushes
app on the Apple iPhone and then translated to real materials (wood, gel medium, beeswax, gold
leaf, and resin). They are meant to emulate, or imitate the timeless Fayum portraits from the Roman
period of Egypt (200 B.C. to approximately 300 C.E), which luckily exist due to the arid climate of
Egypt and the burial practices of the people. The originals were plucked from the face masks of
mummies, revealing an almost photographic glance into the eyes of long dead people. By re-creating
"copies" of these portraits, using my friends and family as models, this very new and ephemeral
medium (The Apple iPhone), calls attention to the short-lived nature of our own existence.
See more of the iPhone Fayum Portraits at
John Bavaro is one of the founding members of iAMDA
(The International Association of Mobile Digital Artists)
and an Associate Professor of Art at Edinboro University
where he teaches Painting, Drawing, and Design. His
iPhone pieces will be featured in the November 2010
issue of Artist’s Magazine and has two upcoming solo
exhibitions of his oil paintings of human and non-human
primates scheduled for 2011.
The recreations are made using photo transfers on gel medium, placed on aged wood, sealed in
acrylic resin, and embellished with beeswax and gold leaf.
Approximate sizes are 8" x 15".
Installation view. The portraits are mounted as wall pieces and displayed in cases.
As framed works, the digital pieces are printed on archival cotton paper and printed 9" x 12".
The vector-based file maintains high resolution from a small original size.