(CNN) -- For most people, Post-it Notes are disposable, ordinary office papers used for note-taking and reminders. But for 19-year-old David Alvarez of Leavenworth, Washington, they were the perfect medium for a 10-foot-tall mosaic depicting Ray Charles.
David Alvarez, right, made this 10-foot-tall mosaic of Ray Charles using Post-it Notes.
Using more than 2,000 of those ubiquitous brightly-colored sticky scraps, Alvarez composed a three-dimensional representation of the famous musician. The piece has just gone on display at Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, Washington, where Alvarez is in his second year of studies.
"It's something so simple. You can still see the flaps sticking out on some of them," he said. "Naturally the Post-it Note just sort of flaps out."
While learning new techniques in Adobe Photoshop in a class, he experimented with taking a photograph of Ray Charles and making it look like a mosaic on the computer screen. He then translated this idea into the Post-it work.
He spent three months constructing the mosaic, sometimes sacrificing schoolwork for his art. At least one of his papers for his summer English courses suffered, but he persevered so that he could participate in an art show July 28 at the Stanley Civic Center in Wenatchee.
Originally, the Post-it Notes stayed in this unique format only by virtue of their manufactured stickiness, which does not hold up as well as glue, Alvarez found. When he displayed his work at the show, he monitored the project for 14 hours, continuously replacing notes that were falling off.
The aspiring art teacher now uses glue to hold the notes in place.
For his next project, he is considering a mosaic using 4-inch x 4-inch notes, up from the 3-inch x 3-inch size used in the Ray Charles piece.
"Part of me wants to, part of me doesn't," he said. "It was so hard to align. It took a lot of time and patience." E-mail to a friend