NEW CUMBERLAND, WV –(November 4, 2020) - The hair you see in an original painting by West Virginia artist Mike Swartzmiller isn’t due to using cheap paint brushes. Since 2002, impressionist painter Swartzmiller signs all his painting with a very unique signature. He signs his paintings just with his last name; the uniqueness lies underneath the signature, as he adds small snippets of his hair.
The hair doesn’t detract or interfere with the artwork, as one must actually take a close look to see. The hair is sealed when the glossy protective sealant coat is applied. In some instances, the hair is embedded while the paint is wet.
Being a student of Art History, the artist addressed the issue of forgeries and fakes with placing his DNA in every painting that he created. A team of researchers have been working on new scientific ways to analyse hair samples that could be an important breakthrough for forensic science. One team composed of biochemist Glendon Parker, who kick-started the research project in 2013; together with Brad Hart, director of the Forensic Science Centre at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) , the research team includes chemist Deon Anex, postdoc Katelyn Mason, biologists Cheryl Strout and Bonnee Rubinfeld, and bioinformaticist Marisa Torres.
Together, the team believe that their method of identification will provide a complement to DNA testing. According to their recent report published in PLOS ONE on 7th September of 2019, the early results are promising. An advantage of using hair, rather than other sample types of DNA, is that the proteins are far more stable and longer lasting.
With scientists closing in on breakthrough forensic methods of DNA identification through hair samples, the original Swartzmiller painting you purchase today contains the ultimate provenance and authenticity, just look under the signature.
If you would like more information on this topic, please contact Mike Swartzmiller at  670-5563 or email: [email protected]
or visit: www.swartzmiller.com
932 Second Avenue
New Cumberland, WV 26047