Post It Notes and Marketing Art

Neatorama mentioned a story over at CNN about 19 year old David Alvarez. He has created a portrait of Ray Charles with more than 2000 colored Post-it notes.

“He spent three months constructing the mosaic, sometimes sacrificing schoolwork for his art. At least one of his papers for his summer English courses suffered, but he persevered so that he could participate in an art show.” CNN Report

post it note art

Here’s the Neatorama link.

I think there’s something to be learned from stories like this. Especially for artists that are working away in the studio, feeling unloved by the media, and looking for a couple minutes of fame. The media are hungry for gimmicky, throw away ideas that capture the attention of readers for a moment.

All you have to do is create some bold work in an unusual medium, (preferably something that will make people giggle or shock them) get some great photos of the work, learn how to prepare a press release that captures the attention of journalists, and send it to all the right people.

Artists like Mr Hirst have made a career out of using this process, but if you’re just looking for a few moments in the spotlight, you only have to do it a couple times. Just make sure that you have your own website up first, so that you can try and capture a few of the curious onlookers from your moment in the sun.

I seem to be a sucker for posting stories about artists using unusual mediums. There’s artists using toothpicks, chocolate, diamonds and skulls, dirty car windows, Lego, blood, NY rubbish, and trees doing the drawing.
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About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Or you could try using acrylic paint on a board or canvas to create an image that helps make people think, feel and imagine something beautiful, calm, peaceful, uplifted, happy or otherwise generally good. You may not make millions overnight but you will be an artist with something useful to share with the world. If however your talents lie more in the field of con and hype (Brit Artists – you know who you are), then why not do us all a favour and stick to selling soap powder, burgers, pensions, etc. Thankfully there are many great british artists but sadly they get little attention unless they also perform media tricks. An artist I admire is Nicola Slattery… no tricks… just interesting pictures… I think one day soon the idea of just producing interesting paintings will be considererd so novel it might just get some attention.

  2. Yeah, there’s no reason why you can’t keep painting with acylics while you pull off a carefully planned media blitz Earl.

    My point is that you can paint portraits with dog poo or something just as ridiculous for a few weeks, spend a little time marketing the crazy idea, then enjoy your 3 minutes of fame.

    It’s a crazy idea, but I have seen it work for artists again and again. There’s a predictable pattern that artists can take advantage of. It doesnt mean you have to dance for the media for the rest of your life.

    I dont believe in completely selling your soul to get attention, but doing the ocassional dance for the media can’t hurt.

  3. wow.. pretty impressive..

  4. My friend and I had that with the chamberpot gallery (all over the news nationally and some international). It was fun seeing how far our story went and it did bring attention to our little village. We didn’t do the gallery for attention though, but attention it got.
    Was the three mins fun? Sort of! It didn’t really do a lot for me ego wise. In the end the only thing that seems to count for me is being able to paint and paint and paint and seeing my work find good homes.

    I do enjoy seeing these stories though :) People’s creative energies and how they apply them is always interesting (even if I don’t like the work itself).

  5. Ps. I enjoyed seeing Nocola Slattery’s work.

  6. Creating art to be uplifting or beautiful is just one type of art. Art that comments on cultural perceptions or is conceptual is another way of working.

    It can be beautiful or uplifting too, but tht intention might be just to make people think or stretch our ideas about what creativity/ art or societal perceptions are.

    I don’t think we have to narrow things down to arcylic or oils on canvass to call it art. I enjoy seeing new ideas or ways of working.

    It’s true that some artworks are partly made to get media attention- which might be just what the artist needs to get people to see the rest of their artwork. Other pieces which use unusual materials are made because that was the medium that suited the idea best.

    In relation to this particular artwork I like the fact that the post-its create a tension in the image because you could (as a spectator) remove them and the artwork seems fleeting. I don’t see any particular connections with Ray Charles though…

  7. But it has been done before…by an advert for Wii

  8. The media loves controversy and oddity so that they can fill their gossip magazines with useless trash. It is just a shame that the art market is heading in the same direction

  9. Interesting idea. I wonder if he got it while photoshopping. I have thought about using photoshopped images as a backdrop just to try and do a mosaic piece in something odd. Like square lego’s.

    Maybe not something that feels deep, but sometimes you need to play as an artist too. Just explore material, or switch to something ridiculous. Get a new perspective, just having fun.

  10. Yes, there are very talented sensitive artists slaving away in relative obscurity (unlike some foul Damiens of the world). One such overlooked artist is Odd Nerdrum, painting in a classic realist style with ideas that transcend time and our soul.

  11. Oh I love Odd Nerdrum’s work.

  12. I came across this article– One of the artists that is represented by the same company I am , Ralph Verano, has a whole collection of art he has made on post-it notes. It’s amazing! He’s written an article here, although I don’t think he updates it as much as he used to:

    He has an amazing style and sells on ArtSmart and Ebay regularly, but has crossed over into the “affordable original art” zone with these post-it notes.

    He also has a website here:

    where you can see some additional post-it note work.

    Really original style..

    BTW, good point on Odd Nerdrum… haven’t even heard that name mentioned in long?? Incredible command of technique with a great manipulation of atmosphere.

  13. If the post-its are new and blank – I’m bored with his work already. Now, if they were collected, used notes – that’s interesting. Perhaps even some wadded up and crinkled.


  1. [...] I mentioned the marketing value of ideas like this a couple weeks ago, so I’ll just quote myself.. “I think there’s something to be learned from stories like this. Especially for artists that are working away in the studio, feeling unloved by the media, and looking for a couple minutes of fame. The media are hungry for gimmicky, throw away ideas that capture the attention of readers for a moment.” Post it Notes and Marketing Art Post [...]

  2. [...] covered apartment (pictured to the left), a Post It note covered car, a flaming phoenix, and the Ray Charles portrait that I mentioned last [...]

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