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Taking the Fine-Art Plunge

(May 2013) posted on Fri May 03, 2013

Four companies embracing fine art and artists.

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By Adrienne Palmer

DNA 11: The science of art
You might have read about the company in Wired and Playboy magazines or even seen it on the TV show “CSI: New York”: it’s DNA 11 (, the world’s most personalized art on canvas, as is claimed on the company website, where DNA from your cheek cell is turned into a work of art – DNA Art Portraits – you can hang in your living room.

DNA 11 was founded by Adrian Salamunovic and Nazim Ahmed, after they recognized that images of DNA sequencing looked like modern art. What started out as a chat between two guys in their condo has led to a multi-million dollar business specializing in wide-format printing of DNA and expanded into Fingerprint Portraits and Kiss Portraits. The company now has more than 50 employees and offices in Ottawa, Canada, and Las Vegas.

The DNA Art Portrait process begins with a simple cheek swab as part of the DNA collection kit that is sent to a customer’s home. Once the kit makes its way back to the lab at DNA 11 and goes through a scientific process to extract and separate the DNA, it’s time for image capture, design, and printing.

A high-power, biological-grade camera is used to capture an image of the DNA, according to their website, and the resultant digital file is sent to DNA 11’s designers, “who work on each image individually, digitally enhancing and customizing a unique DNA Portrait.”

The image file is output onto Breathing Color museum-grade, poly-cotton-blend canvas using DNA 11’s Canon imageProGraf iPF8300 printers (they have 10 of these machines at their disposal), with Lucia EX pigment inks. Finishing includes the addition of a Drytac laminate – “a protective coating, designed to safeguard it from scratches and scuffs, and make it even more resistant to UV damage” – and framing to the customer’s specific needs. The final art ranges in size from 8.5 x 10 to 36 x 54 and 24 x 72 inches.

“We own the entire manufacturing process, so everything is hand-stretched and framed and custom-cut box shipped from one of our two dedicated facilities,” says Salamunovic. While they previously outsourced the lab work, they now operate their own lab facility in Ottawa with a full-time staff.