Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin in 1941 and was educated at Yale University School of Art. He was an influential tutor at Goldsmiths College in London and taught artists such as Damien Hirst, Ian Davenport and Gary Hume.
The digital portrait of Lady Burlington was commissioned by Lord and Lady Burlington, the son and daughter-in-law of the 12th Duke of Devonshire. They discussed the possibility of a portrait of Lady Burlington after their wedding in 2007 and the artist was chosen due to his relevant and contemporary status. Both Lord and Lady Burlington had great admiration for his work, some of which was displayed at an exhibition at Lismore Castle, the family's property in Ireland.
The image is based on a studio photograph which was taken by the artist of Lady Burlington at his studio in Kings Cross. The portrait consists of custom made hardware using a 52" monitor mounted vertically to hang on the wall like a framed painting. The software for the work uses a black line portrait of the sitter by Michael Craig-Martin, which is divided into nine different areas of colour: skin, hair, lips, teeth, eyebrows, shirt, etc. Each colour appears for between five and 15 seconds.
As there is no loop in this work, there is no repetition. The computer portrait is 'live' and programmed to randomly make all decisions concerning colour choice and duration. As there are millions of combinations possible, there is virtually no possibility that anyone will ever see again the exact combination visible at any given moment.