Mona Lisa

This is a pretty old project, from back before I had a blog of any sort (and we walked uphill both ways to school, in the snow). I want to say 2005, because I think I was interning at Kolbrener then.

This is a mural, on my parents’ living room wall. Because my folks are, well, cooler than yours. Some years before this I’d painted them another mural, in the same living room. This time, Dad wanted the whole wall done, and he wanted the Mona Lisa on it. But not a regular old Mona Lisa – something interesting. I suggested we do a mosaic, and then this happened.


We’ve had people ask as if it’s wallpaper, and how’d you do that, and WHY’D you do that. It’s not, I’ll get to that, and simply because we can.

The first chunk of this project was done in Photoshop. We thought it would be a bit easier, and likely better looking, if we did it as a pseudo-duotone. I changed the photo to grayscale, cropped it to the right aspect ratio (we wanted to sort of fill the wall), and ran the mosaic filter.

To make the pattern, I just used the K values for each block. I’m sure there is a less tedious way to do this than the route I took, but it made sense at the time. Each square was rounded to the nearest 10%, and plugged into an Excel spreadsheet (where, ultimately, each block was numbered from 1 to 10).


We made a corresponding grid on the wall, which turned out to be a little over 5,000 1″ x 1″ squares, and numbered the squares to match our Excel grid.


We did the whole thing with two colors of interior house paint, and mixed them in varying percentages. We basically ended up with a giant paint by numbers. Start to finish, it took us right around a month to complete. This should give you an idea of the scale (and my fantastic Vanna White style skills).


This is why Dad and I can’t be left unsupervised.




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