• Salt as an artistic medium 09 June 2015 | View comments

  • These salt portraits will blow your mind

    When it comes to salt and creativity, the closest the majority of us have got to combining those effectively is pushing spilled salt around on a table into lines, pretending it was illicit drugs. Bashir Sultani goes a lot further than that. 

    Using salt to create portraits, including Yoda, Gandhi, Bane, Albert Einstein, Heath Ledger as the Joker, and Charlie Chaplin, the results are incredibly realistic as the layers build up the tone. Recording the process Bashir uploads the time-lapse to his channel on YouTube. Originating from Afghanistan, he may have gotten inspiration for his inventive method having worked in a restaurant, after moving to Toronto. Since starting in 2011, Bashir has moved to incorporate colours as well.


    Bash also channels his creativity in other ways. Never ending Johnny Depp? Yes, please.

    Ahead of him starting an illustration course later this year, we talk about his short-lived salt artwork. 

    What gave you the idea to make art from salt?

    Salt is the perfect medium to use for its ability to be coloured easily and works great on any background. Although the images can't be preserved, I can have still images and videos.

    Are you ever sad to discard it? 

    I don't feel sad about destroying salt images. After all, I have the video process. Art never dies. It just changes its form.

    So you have no intention to ever make the salt art permanent?

    It's probably impossible to preserve the artwork after.










    Any accidental blowing away or smudging stories?

    A lot of people ask what will happen in case I sneeze. It requires some patience every time, cause I had to spend sometimes up to a few hours, so you know you get that demon in your head telling you it won't work or you should just give up. Fighting with myself. A lot of time I had to redo drawing from the start.

    Your second channel sees you make creative use of pencils, with images on either side of them. Are they glued down?

    For the pencils drawings, I first draw on the other side then tape them on the table. When the front drawing is done I flip the pencils. Hopefully, I get my hands on making short animation on pencils soon. It's time-consuming, though. 

    Do you complete all your artwork in one sitting?

    Usually, I like to spend night completing one drawing. And the most fun part is editing, removing extra frames and adding audio. 

    What’s the coloured artwork made from?

    I use food colouring, it's pretty simple you just add a few drops of ink into a plastic zip bag with salt and mix it with hands.

    Explore: Website | Portfolio 

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