23.08.16 by Staff

Experimental Artist Petros Vrellis Creates Detailed Portraits With A Single Thread


Born in Greece, with a background in Electrical Engineering as well as Art Science, artist Petros Vrellis has a passion for creating interactive installations that blend art and technology. His latest project is a mesmerizing re-imagining of traditional handicraft.

Using a 28″ aluminum-rimmed loom, Petros runs a single thread from one anchor peg to another to create just the right density and darkening at precise intersections. The end result is a detailed image that emerges from 3000 – 4000 continuous loops (or 1-2 kilometers of thread)!

While Petros is following a set pattern developed from a computer-generated algorithm, as you can see in the time-lapsed video above, the step-by-step process is all done by hand. We had the chance to speak with Petros about his experimental process and why hand-made work still has a place in the digital age. Check out the full interview below!


An Interview with Petros Vrellis


Booooooom: Is this really knitting? Why did you choose “knitting” for this particular project?

Petros Vrellis: Yes, this is real! But maybe I should have used the term “string-art”, which is more appropriate (sorry, but english is not my native language). Everything started about 10 months ago, when I was experimenting with an algorithm that produces photorealistic collages. I realized that the simplest collage part is a plain straight line. Then I tried to figure out, what can be achieved by using only straight lines. I tried various setup for the pegs and ended with the circular setup that can be build in real life with a circular loom.




Booooooom: You have Master’s degrees in both Engineering and Art Science. Can you talk a bit about how you see art and its relationship to technology? Why is blending them together meaningful to you?

Petros Vrellis: As humankind, for hundreds of thousands of years we make art using the materials that are available to us: rocks, wood, colors, etc. Furthermore, many artworks were built from “exotic” materials. Using modern technology is the next natural step. It is obvious that new media offer new ways of expression.

Booooooom: The patterns you follow were created using openFrameworks and couldn’t actually be calculated without a computer. Why work by hand at all? Why not have the whole thing be computer generated?

Petros Vrellis: I really liked the idea of having a real object that you can feel and touch. Furthermore, a computer screen is not enough to provide all the details, and it’s possible that someone will think that the computer image is just a trick, and that the specific design is impossible! (I’ve heard this as a comment, too many times so far!)

Booooooom: Are there any projects or ideas that you’d like to pursue but the technology isn’t there yet?

Petros Vrellis: I am fascinated by the potential of artificial intelligence. I am sure that in the next few years we will be shocked from the rise of “machine-creativity” level. I’d really love to work on it, but my knowledge is very limited, and so is the computer horsepower available for this stuff, at least for now.




Booooooom: You consider yourself a “toy-inventor” more than an artist. Why is playfulness so important to you and the work that you do?

Petros Vrellis: Playfulness and laugher is the easiest way to change the world! The power of (good) comedy is unsurpassed. Playing and laughing help us overcome rules and habits that keep us behind. For my work, playfulness is connected with creativity; you cannot build anything new, unless you forget the art rules of the past.

Booooooom: Your stuff involves a lot of experimentation. Have there been projects or things you’ve tried that didn’t work out? How do you stay motivated when things aren’t working?

Petros Vrellis: Most of my projects don’t work out! But joy does not come out of success, joy comes out of exploration. Like Greek poet Konstantinos Cavafy wrote in his poem “Ithaca” (Ithaca was Odysseus destination): “When you depart for Ithaca, wish for the road to be long, full of adventure, full of knowledge”.


Petros’ Interactive Animation of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”


Booooooom: What inspires you?

Petros Vrellis: Inspiration works in mysterious ways. It comes completely unexpected while working on even the most irrelevant projects. I just try to absorb any useful info I can get (from books to visual arts), and hope that someday my brain will generate a nice idea, that combines the accumulated knowledge.



Petros Vrellis’ Website

Petros Vrellis on Saatchi Art

If you have work to share, please send us a tweet or post it to our monthly submission posts.

  • Haveaniceday

    Following computer instructions is not experimental but it looks good; can you make something with just free hand?

21.07.17 by Jeff

The Booooooom Creative Job Board

Booooooom art design jobs

If you’re a creative looking for work, or a company looking to hire, we are excited to announce our very own creative job board: Booooooom Jobs. Graphic design jobs, curatorial positions in galleries, freelance animation gigs, a wide variety of opportunities to work in a creative field!

A couple of examples: Our friends at Society6 are looking for a Creative Director, and Skillshare have posted openings for both a Content Producer and Senior Product Designer.

To start, we’re focusing on three cities (New York, Los Angeles, and Vancouver) and will also be posting remote jobs (for those of you who prefer to work from home). All job postings are free for the rest of the month if you use the PROMO CODE: ‘friends’.

Check it out: jobs.booooooom.com

20.07.17 by Staff

Artist Spotlight: Till Rabus

A selection of recent work by artist Till Rabus from Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Click here for previous posts. See more images below.

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20.07.17 by Jeff

Artist Spotlight: Esther Sarto

A selection of paintings from “Sleepless” by artist Esther Sarto, based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her show opens on Saturday at Talon Gallery (Portland). More images below.

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20.07.17 by Staff

Artist Spotlight: Samuel Rodriguez

Recent work by artist Sam Rodriguez from San José, California (previously featured here). More images below!

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19.07.17 by Jeff

Photographer Spotlight: Angeles Peña

“Aguas de Montaña” is a journey into The Andean Patagonia, a desolate territory where photographer Angeles Peña lived all of her childhood.

She says, “In a world that spins faster and faster I feel an enormous necessity to focus on the details and the beauty of what still remains. I find myself with a nature that sustains itself but can fall at any moment. It is something that surpasses me and I cannot stop observing.”

See the rest of the series below.
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