Skip to content
Arts This Artist Turns Your Face Into Abstract Art

This Artist Turns Your Face Into Abstract Art

Tobias Gutmann Face-o-mat Curly
By Erica Fong
March 10, 2017
Don't miss Tobias Gutmann's Face-o-mat exhibition at Art Central Hong Kong


Photo: Courtesy of Tobias Gutmann

Known as Face-o-mat in the art world, Tobias Gutmann isn’t your usual caricature artist — in fact, he’s not even one at all.

Instead of exaggerating facial features into cartoon form, he’s made an art out of simplifying them into abstract lines, circles, squares and squiggles.

See also: The Ultimate Guide To Hong Kong Art Week VIP Parties

The Swiss artist came up with the Face-o-mat concept in 2012, winning the 2013 Golden Prize in the Swedish illustration competition ‘Kolla’! and a nomination for the Swiss Design Awards in 2014.

My goal is to visually interpret the sound of a person, rather than what I see on the surface. —Tobias Gutmann

The Face-o-mat is essentially an analog vending machine (made out of cardboard or wood) that Gutmann sits behind to draw his subjects.

Viewing them through a rectangular cut-out, which serves as a frame of reference, he then processes their faces into abstract art and feeds the final product through a slot to the other side.


Photo: Courtesy of Tobias Gutmann

Popping up in museums, art festivals and galleries worldwide, the Face-o-mat has already been in Papua New Guinea, Japan and France last year, and its next stop will be Art Central Hong Kong this month.

See also: Insider Tips On Surviving Hong Kong Art Week

There, Gutmann will be drawing live in the middle of the fair’s Street Food Central for two hours per day from 21 to 25 March (see detailed schedule below).

Only 20 participants will be chosen per day by ballot draw—for a total of 10 portraits per hour—so don’t miss your chance to see what features of yours (if any) will be captured by Gutmann.

Face-o-mat hours at Art Central Hong Kong:

  • Tuesday, March 21: 1-2:30pm
  • Wednesday, March 22: 2-4:15pm
  • Thursday, March 23: 2-2:55pm and 6-7:15pm
  • Friday, March 24: 2-4:15pm
  • Saturday, March 25: 2-4:15pm

See the full schedule of performance art installations at Art Central Hong Kong.

Watch this video to see how the Face-o-mat works:

(Video: Vimeo)

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay updated every Wednesday.



Arts artist Art Week Hong Kong Art Week Hong Kong Art Week 2017 Tobias Gutmann Face-O-Mat


In order to provide you with the best possible experience, this website uses cookies. For more information, please refer to our Privacy Policy.