A short history of barcode art


A short history of barcode art

barcode art

Can the humble barcode really be transformed into barcode art? Find out in our short history of barcode art – you might be surprised!

The barcode is so much part of our everyday life. Essential for commerce and recognised by anyone who has exchanged a product for money in a shopping outlet or online, both consumer and business would be lost without them.

Yet, we take little notice of them. They appear dull – black and white stripes with random numbers – but they are doing their magic and getting us what we need.

So the idea that these rather boring-looking warehouse slaves could be the subject of art may at first seem a little far-fetched.

Barcodes symbolise commerce and capitalism

But I guess it is because they are at the very fabric of a capitalist society and are so recognizable to one and all that they deserve attention from the artistic fraternity. But this kind of art is not anything new. It all really started in the 1990’s when artists began to see the barcode as a perfect wall art. New York artist Bernard Solco was a leader in this new form of art and a sample of his work can be seen above.

This Eureka moment led to a giant barcode on canvas, an instant sale and an exhibition at the New York Gallery. He became so well known that when 2D barcode defence technology came along he created art for that too.

Fun and cool barcode art

The next big move in turning the humble barcode into an artistic masterpiece was in the new millennium. This is when people started seeing the barcode itself as having the fundamental factors for artistic design. Artists realised that as two dimensional as the barcode is, its design could be changed to reflect what it was selling, the brand of the company and as a bit of fun.

Fun, cool art barcodes

The bigger picture

Most recently and arguably the most innovative of barcode artists is US artist Scott Blake. Born in Florida in 1976 Blake focussed his pop art creations around the barcode in the early naughties. But rather than creating micro type images he has done the opposite by using a multitude of barcodes to create a pop art image.

This was especially effective when he created a portrait of Bruce Lee. The portrait itself is a close up of the face of Bruce Lee. When you look a little closer you can see that it has not been created with brush-strokes but with individual barcodes. When these barcodes are scanned you can see various clips from his films depending on what the barcode relates to. Now that is giving barcodes a whole new dimension. And with all those Bruce Lee fights and violence going on it may be time to bring on the censors!

Tanto Labels provide barcode printing hardware, software, labels and barcode numbers. We also offer assistance with printer installation and after-sales support. In short, we can guide you through the whole process – making it simple and cost-effective. To learn more or for a quote take a look at the label services we provide.

If you need any advice please ask us – we’d be only too happy to help you.

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