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Gene Simmons is made of kittens

I made this mosaic today. It’s Gene Simmons, made of kittens.

Mosaic: Gene Simmons

The photos were recent additions to Flickr that had the tag “kittens”. Not all of them are actually of kittens. There’s a cool photo in the upper middle showing recent “top searches”, and a few burlesque dancers mixed in with the kitties.

My friend Mike Davis pointed out that it makes much more sense to make Peter Criss out of Kittens, and to make Gene Simmons out of demons, but I like the contrast here better. The subject of the mosaic was suggested by my neighbor Brandon Hutchinson, who is a much bigger Kiss fan than I am.

You can see who took the photos on this attributions page, which puts the name of each photographer in a mouse-over label.

People often ask how I make these mosaics. I use a collection of Perl scripts of my own design, which work in conjunction with the ImageMagick library. There is one script to collect lists of photos, another to download thumbnails, and another script to build the actual mosaic image. If you’re interested in these scripts, you’ll find them (or older versions of them, at least) in the code that goes with the book I cowrote, “Flickr Hacks”. However, those of you without elite Perl hacking skillz will do just fine with the various freeware and shareware offerings out there for building Mosaics. Two programs I personally recommend are Andrea Mosaic for the PC, and MacOSaiX, for the Mac. The main reason I insist on re-inventing the wheel with my own mosaic-building software is because I find the process itself fascinating.

I printed out the mosaic on a large format printer so I can decorate my cubicle with it. It looks totally awesome at 50 inches across! It’s interesting how much more impact these mosaics have when reproduced at very large sizes. Up close, the overall Gene Simmons picture vanishes, and you just have a cool collection of cat photos. But if you stand 50 or 100 feet away, it’s all Gene Simmons!

I wish I had a large format printer in my living room… Anyone want to buy me one?

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