Lena Sjööblom: The First Lady of the Internet

Addicted Art Gallery
May 1, 2022 7:11AM

Dear Internet, I've retired." ~ Lena

"Punk" by Greg Beebe, 2018

"Punk" is mixed-media artist Greg Beebe's take on the April 1973 Playboy magazine cover featuring Lena Sjööblom licking a Playboy stamp.

April 1973 Playboy magazine cover featuring Lena Sjööblom licking a Playboy stamp

Concept Sketch for "Punk" by Greg Beebe

Lena’s path to iconhood began in the pages of Playboy. In 1972, at the age of 21, she appeared as Miss November, wearing nothing but a feathered sun hat, boots, stockings, and a pink boa. At her suggestion, the editors spelled her first name with an extra “n,” to encourage proper pronunciation. “I didn’t want to be called Leena,” she explained.

About six months later, a copy of the issue turned up at the University of Southern California’s Signal and Image Processing Institute, where Alexander Sawchuk and his team happened to be looking for a new photograph against which to test their latest compression algorithm - the math that would make unwieldy image files manageable. Lena’s glossy centerfold, with its complex mixture of colors and textures, was the perfect candidate. They tore off the top third of the spread, ran it through a set of analog-to-digital converters, and saved the resulting 512-line scan to their Hewlett-Packard 2100.

The USC team proudly handed out copies to lab visitors, and soon the image of the young model looking coquettishly over her bare shoulder became an industry standard, replicated and reanalyzed billions of times as what we now know as the JPEG came into being. According to James Hutchinson, an editor at the University of Illinois College of Engineering, Lena was for engineers “something like what Rita Hayworth was for US soldiers in the trenches of World War II.”

Because of the ubiquity of her Playboy photo scan, Lena has been called the "first lady of the internet".

"Dear Internet, I've retired." ~ Lena

Source: “Finding Lena, the Patron Saint of JPEG’s” by Linda Kinstler, 2019, WIRED

Mixed-media Artist: Greg Beebe

Miami-based, mixed media artist, Greg Beebe, found his true calling in the art world when he began creating spontaneous and thought-provoking abstract works of art. Beebe’s earlier mediums of expression also included spray painting graffiti, cartooning as well as sketching free hand imagery.

The self-taught artist, who is also a successful financial entrepreneur approaches his art practice with the same intention as he does his business interests…with an unstoppable impulse to create. The result is honest commentary that promotes the power of positivity and the pursuit of creation in any form.

Inspired by pioneering contemporary artists, such as Jackson Pollock, Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol, Beebe’s unique style brings to life a mixture of abstract expressionism, pop and graffiti art and introduces a multitude of mediums ranging from sculptured objects, cement, iconic photographs, acrylics, spray paints, glitter and glass.

With a mind that is driven by diversity, Beebe is always looking for new ways to inspire himself and his followers. Whether it be through subliminal messaging or by his use of intense colour combinations, heavy textures or unusual mediums, he looks to bring a piece to vibrant life and often times the message is left for the viewer to find.

"Positive or energetic messaging is my key focus. I want to create artwork from a personal feeling of motivation or positivity. For example, seeing people work hard or working hard myself and achieving something is gratifying to me, so I want to create a piece of artwork that might give the viewer a piece of what I’m feeling.” ~ Greg Beebe

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