pop culture portraits

When conceptual art meets popular culture the result are these amazing celebrity portraits by Erika Iris Simmons. The work is a collection of faces that grow out of recycled materials, reused cassette tapes, and the negative space that results from these shapes. The artist began her careers as a face-painter at Universal Studios and then went on to pursue makeup design.

“I became fascinated with books about perception and cognition. I think creating these optical illusions everyday [with makeup] made me curious about how our minds perceive shadows, and how we put together the image of the world around us.” says Simmons

For these pieces that she calls Ghost in the Machine, Simmons “showcases a number of portraits of musicians made out of recycled cassette tape with original cassette…The idea comes from a phrase (ironically) coined by philosopher Gilbert Ryle, a description of how your spirit lives in your body. I imagine we are all, like cassettes, thoughts wrapped up in awkward packaging.”
Most recently, Simmons has been selected as the artist to create the official artwork for the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards®. According to an official press release on December 3, 2012:

“The work depicts the iconic GRAMMY® image composed with half-inch studio recording tape, a true celebration of recording excellence. It will be used as the official artwork for the world’s premier music event and will grace the cover of the GRAMMY Awards program book, telecast tickets and promotional poster. The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held Feb. 10, 2013, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).”

Simmons work can be found on Flickr and prints can be purchased through her website, iri5.

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Tom Foerstel : Founder & President

Tom Foerstel

Founder & President

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, Tom developed a strong desire to create positive change for people and planet.


He went on to pursue his passion for art and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for design firms in Southern California before moving to Boise, Idaho in the early 80’s. Foerstel Design opened its doors in 1985. Since its inception, the firm has cultivated a bold, happy, forward-looking team focussed on creating distinct and effective work on behalf of their clients.


An integral part of Tom’s philosophy is giving back to the community in which he lives — a company cornerstone that drives Foerstel’s long history of providing pro-bono services to local non-profit humanitarian and arts programs.


One of Tom’s proudest personal achievements is his ability to say Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious backwards.