DNA Valentine

So you thought that the cuddly teddy bear holding the little red heart box of chocolates really nailed it today didn’t you? You thought you scored with your special Valentine, right? Well, talk about thinking totally outside the box: a company called DNA 11 offers you a gift that is so intensely personal, so unique and yet rather unusual that it will never be forgotten.

DNA 11 offers you a chance to provide your own DNA sample, which they will then process and place on an artistic screen, either in mini-portrait form or on a canvas that you could use as artwork. Now, we’re not talking that kind of DNA sample.

DNA 11 sends you a testing swab kit –you know, the kind that CSI investigators use at crime scenes–, from which you take a little sample of saliva from your inside cheek. It gets sent off to the labs, where in a couple of weeks, you are then sent your DNA profile, and subsequently, the portrait based on the color schemes you have selected. You can then send this to someone special, or better yet, why not have your loved one swabbed at the same time so you can have DNA art side by side? For those who are too skittish (or weirded out) by the DNA composite art, the company also offers to do portraits of your thumbprint or your lips (“the Kiss”)–again, everyone’s impression is unique.

DNA Orange Valentine

This interesting form of custom art is the brainchild of two geneticists, Adrian Salamunovic and Nazim Ahmed, who not only love working in the lab as scientists but also have a flair for art. Ahmed actually worked for a biotech company that sold imaging software for DNA for scientific purposes. His partner, Salamunovic, saw the art in these images, plus their distinct marketing appeal.

Now, their DNA art, which is now being exhibited and sold in Manhattan art shops, such as the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Store, promises a remarkable accomplishment –making something that is so intensely personal but which you, as the DNA “owner”, can design in your own way? Salamunovic and Ahmed declare that they have a love “for art, design and science” and given the sheer inventiveness of this kind of art form, coupled with the popularity of DNA-type “entertainment” in popular culture nowadays, we say they have really hit on something.

Imagine having something on your walls that you can really, um, came from you?

As this video clip from Donny Deutsch’s CNBC show “The Big Idea” above suggests, this inventive idea has really taken off and DNA 11’s works have also been shown on HGTV’s “Devine Design”, “Top Gear”, the Today Show and, last Friday, managed to make co-host Whoopi Goldberg give her trademark “Huh?” look with her eyes during a Valentine’s Day gift ideas segment on “The View”.

In fact, “CSI: New York” based an entire episode a couple of years back around the “latest thing” involving DNA custom art. Nothing like marrying this most unusual concept to one of TV’s most popular shows. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

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