Michael Mapes is not your typical painter, writer or sculptor. He is an artist who believes that every piece of art is a collection of individual parts. The unique thing about his art is that he takes hair samples, old photographs, handwriting samples, jewelry and other valuable items of that person and places them in test tubes to make up a section of the piece. He mainly focuses on self portraits and pictures of people who actually lived in the past and the present. Mapes wants to use actual items of the significant person to either recreate an original piece or make a new piece of his own. He says that his art is made up of “Biographical DNA” which include the personal items of that specific person and either places them in test tubes or plastic bags which he then arranges to create an image from a distance.
Mapes’ interesting approach to old art creates a symbolic message because of the personal materials that he uses to do so. Creating his pieces out of items of that specific person makes his art that much more meaningful to an artists today. He isn’t one to use paint or pastels, he is one to use the natural color from tangible objects that are found in this world. Mapes wants to change the way art is made and with his method he continues to do so by using the objects that were once important in that persons life.