Archive for the ‘How it’s Made’ Category

What's Brewing in the DNA 11 Labs

We’re always looking for new ways to create personalized art, so we thought we would share our recent research with you!

We have been looking at a way to create jewellery, from your DNA. The possibilities are endless with this idea, so the process was exciting.

First we took a look at whether we would use the same sequencing procedure as we do with our portraits. We wanted to stay true to our DNA 11 customers and products, but we thought there might be some other interesting patterns in the science that we could work with. We took a look at STR data, to see if it would translate well onto a ring, bracelet, or even necklace.

What's Brewing in the DNA 11 Labs

The numbers in the data would transfer well into measurements of the bands, providing a delicate and perfectly unique pattern for each piece.

What's Brewing in the DNA 11 Labs

Another way we could go about it would be to use our original sequencing, and transfer the entire portrait, or a single ladder onto the piece.

What's Brewing in the DNA 11 Labs

We decided to focus on the idea of a DNA ring. Outside of the DNA data possibilities, there are so many options in the world of jewellery that we have looked at. From the size and design of the piece, to the type of material used, to the way they are physically produced, there is so much to take into consideration. We tried a few 3D-printed prototypes and even discussed with a local jeweller the possibilities of casting each ring.

We started with the above sketches and created some potential digital designs.

What's Brewing in the DNA 11 Labs


Once we saw how the bands could look, we moved forward with 3D printed prototypes.

What's Brewing in the DNA 11 Labs

We played around with silver, gold and titanium options.

What's Brewing in the DNA 11 Labs

We also looked at cutting out the DNA data, compared to raising it above the surface, or etching the full portrait into the ring. The ways of personalizing these pieces never ends!

What's Brewing in the DNA 11 Labs

If you’re familiar with our DNA Portraits, you’ll see the full banding etched into the ring in the above photo!

We’ll keep working on these ideas and let you know what we come up with! In the meantime, let us know what you think or if you have any ideas for cool DNA Art in the comments!


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Posted in Art+Science, How it's Made, Just Cool, Science by Brittany on May 27th, 2014

We’ve always highlighted works of art that collide with the world of science — this work takes that collision to a whole new level.

These portraits are made from disease-causing bacteria. Artist/Scientist Zachary Copfer used different types of bacteria for the different portraits, including that which causes respiratory infections and even some from his own body!

The portraits themselves are quite impressive, outside of the medium used to create them. The way Copfer exposes the bacteria to radiation in order to accelerate their growth causes a Lichtenstein appearance in the work as well — the spots of bacteria resembling the comic book style Lichtenstein was known for.

The other thing about creating art from bacteria is that these cells are living things, which means they will eventually die. These works of art are mortal beings.


Love science and art? Check out DNA 11! 

Via Beautiful/Decay

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Posted in Cool Art Ideas, How it's Made, Just Cool by Brittany on May 8th, 2014

These Pixelated Paintings are Made with Bubble Wrap and Paint

Artist Bradley Hart has created a bunch of portraits and paintings by injecting paint into bubble wrap — creating a mosaic, pixelated image.

The process is twofold. First he injects each bubble with the paint to create the pixelated look. Second he removes the drippings from the back of the paintings to see the impression of the piece. Some examples are below, with the injection version complete and the impression version almost melting downward.

Besides the fact that these paintings are incredibly well done for being created one bubble (or pixel) at a time, the back stories of Hart’s inspiration is fascinating. Ranging from why he injects the paint, to why he wanted to create pixelated images, to the end meaning behind both the injection and impression pieces, his art is “injected” with sentiment and meaning every step of the way.

Part of what he explains on his website is that: “The bare bubbles in the bubble wrap reference dots or pixels, echoing various movements in art history and other media, including pointillism, screen-printing, TVs and LCS monitors… The process of injecting paint into bubble wrap directly references pixilation (and those 1’s and 0’s) and at the same time harkens back to the time of family portrait painting, when a family’s personal “photo” album consisted of paintings hanging on its walls.”

These Pixelated Paintings are Made with Bubble Wrap and Paint

These Pixelated Paintings are Made with Bubble Wrap and Paint

These Pixelated Paintings are Made with Bubble Wrap and Paint

These Pixelated Paintings are Made with Bubble Wrap and Paint

These Pixelated Paintings are Made with Bubble Wrap and Paint

These Pixelated Paintings are Made with Bubble Wrap and Paint

Via Ignant

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Posted in Cool Art Ideas, How it's Made, International, Just Cool, Video by Courtney on March 14th, 2013

We’re always captivated by original art projects that set themselves apart from the rest — much like our DNA art. “Black Hole” is a project by Swiss photographer Fabien Oefner. The setup of his project is very simple, Oefner drips various shades of acrylic paint onto a metallic rod, which is attached to a drill. He switches on the drill, and photographs the moment when the paint starts to move away from the rod caused by the centripetal force. Because the paint moves so quickly, the photo needs to be captured within a millisecond of the drill being switched on. He makes use of a sensor that is connected to the drill and camera, which allows him to accurately freeze frame the motion of the paint.

Video credit: Vimeo

Photo credit: Design Boom

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Posted in Art+Science, DNA Art in the News, gift ideas, How it's Made, Just Cool by Courtney on August 2nd, 2012

What’s the best gift for the co-founder of Apple’s 62nd birthday? DNA Art from DNA 11, of course!

Steve Wozniak’s surprise birthday party was the hottest event in San Francisco last night. Woz spoke to the crowd alongside his present — the DNA Portrait we created for him. His DNA art was also transformed into a birthday cake thanks to our digital download feature.

How was Steve Wozniak’s DNA Portrait created? DNA 11 extracted his DNA from a simple cheek swab, then ran it through a gel and a process called electrophoresis in our lab. Smaller pieces of DNA move faster than larger pieces through the gel pores, so the result is a series of DNA strands separated from one another based on size, with the largest strands on the top of the gel and the smallest bands at the bottom. This process ensures the unique DNA extends into a unique order.

Fusion-io, where Woz is chief scientist, planned the surprise party. Guests secretly invited to the museum received pink boas, noise makers and a chance to test their skills on Tetris.

It was a real honor to create his portrait. Happy Birthday, Woz!

Photos via

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Posted in Cool Art Ideas, Cool Design of the Week, How it's Made by Courtney on July 20th, 2012

Image of wine Cork Portraits by Scott Gundersen

We’re always on the lookout for unique art and cool portraits, so when we found these Wine Cork Portraits by Scott Gundersen we got really excited. Via Colossal:

Starting with a large photograph that’s transferred to a drawing, Gundersen pins each cork to the canvas, creating a correlation between the hues of the wine-stained corks and the value of light or shadow in the portrait. His latest work, Trisha, took 3,621 corks to complete, but other works have required over 9,000.

If you’re not already blow away by this art’s immensity, check out the video below to catch a peak at how it all comes together. Meet: “Grace”:

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Posted in Art+Science, How it's Made by Courtney on June 15th, 2012

We’ve launched the world’s first creative laboratory combining genetics, art and commerce.

First, DNA 11 revolutionized the art world with our amazing  DNA Art—and now we’ve unveiled the world’s first genetics lab dedicated to the creation of biometric artwork: The Lab @ DNA 11.

We’ve been mixing Art+Science since 2005 — sequencing the individual DNA of customers and turning it into beautiful genetic art.

Now DNA 11 is creating the ultimate laboratory for the advancement of biometric artwork by combining a state-of-the-art genetics lab with the in-house creative team that dreamed up the original DNA Portrait to continue to revolutionize the industry.

“Establishing a genetics lab in the middle of an art factory exemplifies the essence of DNA 11 — the melding of the two worlds of art and genomics,” said Nazim Ahmed, cofounder, DNA 11.

Because the one-of-a-kind genetic art lab is completely in-house, we maintain total quality control and the ability to experiment with new ways of visualizing the building blocks of life.

“It’s our take on The Factory — Warhol’s famous midtown Manhattan studio — we call it The Lab @ DNA 11 and it provides an inspirational space for artists, creatives and scientists to create truly remarkable biometric inspired products,” said Nazim.

The Lab @ DNA 11 is located at the company’s global headquarters in Ottawa, Canada and provides support services for DNA art production around the globe including DNA 11’s U.S. production facility in Las Vegas, NV.

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Posted in How it's Made by Adrian on February 10th, 2011

Kiss Portrait Collection Kit

As Valentine’s Day approaches there will many kisses given away but only a select few will last forever as a one-of-kind art piece.

The DNA 11 KISS Portrait makes the perfect Valentine’s Day gift but how do we make them? Here’s how:

  1. We send out a KISS Portrait Colection Kit to the customer like the one pictured above.
  2. Inside the customer will find a tube of M.A.C VIVA GLAM Lipstick, some KISS collection sheets, a color swatch, a collection envelope and an instruction card.
  3. The customer then applies the lipstick and plants a big kiss on the collection sheet. We supply more than one so you can try more than once to get just the right look.
  4. The customer places the KISS collection sheets in the envelope indicating their top 5 preferred KISS imprints then fills in their address information and color selection and mails it off to DNA 11.
  5. Once the samples have been received, they are put trough our high resolution scanner and sent to the designer.
  6. The designer then picks the best print using criteria such as how well it transferred to the collection sheet, visibility of fine detail and general aesthetic appeal. The process of creating the KISS print is done mainly by hand to insure that all the fine details are captured. The print, is then converted to a vector image to ensure the highest level of quality.
  7. Next the KISS print has the customer’s chosen color palette applied and is send to print.
  8. Each KISS Portrait is then printed using Giclée printing techniques on high-quality, acid-free, polyester-cotton canvas, using pigmented inks designed to resist fading. Each piece is also sealed with a non-yellowing protective varnish to further prolong the print life.
  9. KISS Portraits are then stretched around a wooden stretcher frame and stapled on the back. Our 1.5″ depth stretcher bars are made of high quality North American Birchwood and include a unique support system which prevents warping and the canvas from skewing or sagging.
  10. Each portrait is hand-signed by one of our in-house stretchers so you know it was made by made with care.
  11. Your unique KISS Portrait is then wrapped in plastic to protect it, boxed and shipped to you.

Kiss Collection sheet sample

Here are a few tips and trick for getting the best KISS print for your KISS Portrait from our Lead Graphic Designer, Melissa Edwards:

  • Do not rub your lips together when applying the lip stick. This prevents the lip stick from going in the cracks and creases of your lips which is a good thing.
  • With a slightly open mouth, press your lips against the paper. Avoid pursing your lips together, as this creates the unwanted “O” look.
  • The darker the lip stick over all the better, the more cracks the better.
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Looking for corporate art? Create a photo canvas for your office: Visit our sister site CanvasPop.