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Detailed Wood Portraits Crafted Using the Marquetry Technique

Atlanta, Georgia-based artisan Rob Milam uses the technique of marquetry to produce beautiful works out of wood veneer. If you're not familiar with this craft, it's the creation of an image using natural woods as the medium. Pieces are first cut and later glued on a substrate; it's kind of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle.

Milam begins with a photograph and then uses Photoshop filters to create a simplified image that shows light and dark values. With it as his guide, he uses anywhere from four to 16 different types of wood veneers to hand produce the impressive portraits and landscapes.

Every type of wood has a distinctive grain and color, ranging from creamy white, to darker browns, and even black. Milam works with all of them. He'll sometimes accent his portraits with artificially-colored blue and green veneer as a way to place emphasis on a subject's eyes. This gives his pieces visual variety and depth in ways you wouldn't normally expect with wood.

Rob Milam website
via [Asylum Art]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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