How Ogilvy’s Graham Fink draws with his eyes

Ogilvy China CCO Graham Fink is a man of many talents and he has a new one, drawing with his eyes.

Here he is at the Riflemaker Gallery in London, staring intently at a blank computer screen. Out of nowhere, lines start to emerge, slowly taking on the characteristics of disturbing and broken portraits of faces. The week-long live drawing performance took place earlier this month. The process involves custom eye-tracking software which transforms his gaze into ‘Drawing With My Eyes.’

Fink says: “As a child, I was always preoccupied with faces, these images you see with your mind’s eye. I would see them in clouds, rocks, fires and cracks in the walls and concrete. If you think about it, faces must be the things that we look at more than anything in this world. I was wondering if it would be possible to put them down on paper or canvas in a completely new and interesting way.

“I met up with some research companies who specialize in using eye tracking for advertisements, gauging if they look at the headline first or body copy or the image,etc. They would do this by tracking the line of the eye movement and then visualize it on the screen, so you could see these direct images emerge from the way people looked at something. I then got the idea that you could use this technology to create images, and ultimately, that you could draw with your own eyes.

“At the gallery I used an eye-tracker and custom software I developed together with a Swedish company called Tobii Technology. The eye-tracking shines infrared light straight into my eyes, recording the reflections with algorithms to translate the eye movements to lines on the screen.

“The software is designed to have different types of sensitivity, because obviously your eyes are very sensitive and it’s quiet hard to keep your eyes in one particular spot over time. I basically draw the lines in my mind and see what develops on screen. Sooner or later a face will appear. You have to really trust your unconscious that the image will materialize.”

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Amazing stuff. MAA creative scale: definitely a ten!

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