Science

How a creative made this exquisite Mars portrait out of real rust

Inspired by the reason the Red Planet is red, Barry Abrams' work is a clever masterpiece.

Mars is red because of an abundance of iron oxide in its surface material – put simply, it’s covered in rust.

So, when the creative and planet-loving Barry Abrams made a portrait of the Red Planet, he decided to make it using the very thing which gives it its fiery hue.

A close up of his Mars piece
(Barry Abrams)

The 34-year-old is a web designer and developer based in Champaign, Illinois by day, but a passionate screen printer in his evenings.

He started his piece with a square of sheet metal.

The sheet of metal
(Barry Abrams)

He then used adhesive vinyl to create circular masks on the metal – to imitate the round shape of the planet.

The metal with the cut outs on them
(Barry Abrams)

Then comes the clever bit.

Abrams sprayed the metal with hydrogen peroxide, causing the metal to rust – which is quite a sight.

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Then, after removing the mask, Abrams sprayed the metal with a coating to protect the other areas of metal from rusting.

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Using Photoshop, Abrams made a positive image of Mars.

The Mars picture
(Barry Abrams)

He then used this to screen print the image of Mars onto the rust.

Burning a screen covered in emulsion, lighter areas allow ink to pass through.

The screen printing
(Barry Abrams)

Then, after a quick blow with a heat gun to cure the ink…

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… Abrams’ inspired masterpiece was finished.

The finished piece
(Barry Abrams)

“The Mars print was actually pretty straightforward to make,” Abrams told the Press Association. “I knew I could get the metal to rust in a selective area, but I didn’t know if the black ink would adhere to the metal.

“Luckily with some coaxing from a heat gun, it did!”

A close up of the work
(Barry Abrams)

“I’ve been screen printing out of my basement for the last year or so,” said Abrams. “The posters I print mostly are space-themed.”

Indeed they are – just take a look at the art show Abrams put on at a gallery in April this year.

Planets made by Abrams
(Barry Abrams)

Truly an out-of-this-world talent.

To see more of Abrams’ work, click here.

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