With computers, the Internet and even cell phones everywhere you look, those bulky phone books have pretty much become obsolete. At least in my eyes they have. The last time I used a phone book was probably to smash a bug that was crawling around. However, just like with everything else we no longer need, someone has found a great use for phone books. Alex Queral is an artist that isn't afraid to put a face to all of those names found in a phone book.
Queral brings celebrities to life through phone book pages. Over a decade ago, Queral was out one day searching for wood to use in a sculpture he was making. He came upon a bunch of old discarded phone books and that's when inspiration struck. He gathered up the phone books, took them home and started carving to see what he could come up with. What resulted were some of the coolest and most detailed sculptures of celebrities ever done on this type of medium.
He starts by drawing the celebrities face on a piece of paper. He then puts it over the phone book and with an X-ACTO® knife he carefully carves away pages in the phone book to create a 3D effect for the sculpture. Once he finishes with that, he paints over them with acrylic in order to set and preserve the details.
From his artist statement: "My fascination with heads began as an art student. For me, the human head was a natural choice of subject matter because of its inherent expressiveness. I carve the faces out of phone books because I like the three-dimensional quality that results and because of the unexpected results that occur working in this medium. The three-dimensional quality enhances the feeling of the pieces as an object as opposed to a picture.
In carving and painting a head from a phone directory, I’m celebrating the individual lost in the anonymous list of thousands of names that describe the size of the community. In addition, I like the idea of creating something that is normally discarded every year into an object of longevity."
Queral can create about two of these every month. Probably about the same amount of time it would take me to find a phone number in one of those things.
He has to be very careful when cutting. The thing that sucks for him is when he's near the end of a carving and happens to make one wrong careless cut. When that happens, he has to start all over again with a fresh phone book. So, that probably means that if I snuck up on him while he was doing one of these carvings and scared him, he's probably be pretty pissed off at me.
What do you think of these phone book sculptures?
Copyrighted images used with permission. Please visit the Projects Gallery website to see more phonebook artwork done by Alex Queral.