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Honest! Abe Lincoln is reimagined in license plates

Jennifer Savo didn’t even consider traditional housewarming gifts like a plant or bottle of wine when her brother Thomas — a former Navy sailor — bought his first house last December. Instead, she surprised him with a three-foot-tall portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, below, which she crafted out of vintage metal license plates. 

“I know Thomas likes American history, and he’s living near Washington, D.C., which made me think of the White House,” says Jennifer, who has been experimenting with license plate art for a few years. “Abe is an iconic face that would translate well and would be a fun historical person to do.”

The black painted pieces on this Abe Lincoln artwork are wrong-side-up 1970s license plates from Illinois; they are stamped with “Land of Lincoln,” the state’s official slogan.

Her starting point was an 1863 photograph of Honest Abe. Using photo-editing software, she posterized the photo, which converted it to four tones only — black, white, and two greys. She enlarged the manipulated photo to her desired finished size of 24x36 inches and printed it out on regular copy paper. She then cut it into paper puzzle pieces that served as patterns for the portrait’s metal sections, which she cut from both license plates and a smooth sheet of aluminum.

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