TBWA\Italy, street artist Ozmo, Fondazione Humanitas and digital publishing house/event venue First Floor Under merged art and anti-smoking health advocacy effort in one project, Smok-Ink. Together they’ve created a one-of-a-kind installation, a 60 square meter diptych that is entirely hand-painted with ink extracted from the cigarette smoke.
The giant piece comes as a combination of scientific infographics, numbers and famous works by the legendary artists such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Doré, Böcklin and more to illustrate the darker side of being a smoker.
Smoking is responsible for about 70,000 deaths a year in Italy alone, and the piece describes how exactly cigarettes affect the organism. Scenes from the old paintings reproduced on the Smok-Ink canvas symbolize various damages that a smoker inflicts to the body. The first part of the diptych describes how brain, heart, lungs and stomach are affected, and the piece’s second part depicts the harm to the organism in general.
The canvas is painted with 5 liters of a special ink made with a special machine that aspirated more than 40,000 cigarettes and mixed the harmful substances with water. Some of the most dramatic effects of smoking—cells mutation and stomach burning—are painted with the dark paint. The work ends with a representation of the first step of quitting smoking, which is highlighted by the light pink colors.
On the dedicated website, one can view the piece in detail and read pop-up explanations behind each of the element taken from the classic paintings. By clicking on the triangle signs on the interactive canvas, one can also watch short videos about how the piece has been created.
“Our idea was born from the intuition of bringing people within their own lungs which are represented as a canvas. The message is strong and the medium even stronger,” commented Mirco Pagano, a member of a creative team at TBWA\Italy.
The admission-free exhibit was open April 10-19 in Milan, Italy.