Have you ever wanted to examine the signature chinstrap of former President/clandestine vampire hunter Abraham Lincoln with "a scrutiny not even permitted to lovers?"
If so, you're in luck—because this is exactly what Japanese artist Kazuhiro Tsuji promises with his line of oversized, hyper-realistic sculptures of legendary cultural iconoclasts, including Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and Honest Abe.
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The Los Angeles-based sculptor rose to notoriety with a career as a prominent Special Effects artist in Hollywood, working on modern cinematic classics like Total Recall, Men In Black, and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. Recently, he served as "Ape Designer" on Rise of the Planet of The Apes, obviously playing an integral role in the making of the film.
Tsuji states that his aim is to "go beyond capturing a likeness," instead focusing on bringing out the internal thoughts and contemplations of the legendary politicians and artists he chooses to recreate in layers upon layers of resin and platinum silicone.
Here, he captures surrealist painter Salvador Dali and his trademark 'stache in their natural habitat: being strangled by an ominous, disembodied onyx hand.
Tsuji is pictured in the early stages of his Lincoln sculpture, getting those famous cheekbones on point. If our 16th POTUS, Jeff Goldblum and Powder had a giant baby, it would probably look like this.
"Empathy serves as a primary guide to my process. I strive for a kind of reticence, an ambiguity that teases your curiosity to keep you guessing at what thoughts lurk behind those eyes," the artist says.
Legendary Hollywood make-up artist Dick Smith is shown posing here with his own statue. Smith is the only one of Tsuji's subjects able to do so, because the rest are...um, dead.
"When a neutral expression is adjusted just right, it can trigger an illusion that the face is on the verge of sliding into different moods. It’s a kind of subtlety that serves as a mask hiding a complexity beneath," Tsuji offers on his website, and displays with this intimate recreation of avant-garde icon Andy Warhol.
While Tsuji sits Dali atop a surrealist fist, and Lincoln on a stately, President-worthy platform, he places his Warhols atop simmering, metallic puddles reminiscent of the artist's own familiar-yet-startling works of Pop Art majesty.
Dali, scanning the astral plane for signs of Rhinos and/or Owen Wilson.
Lincoln cuts an impressive figure, even when strictly made of silicon.
"The stillness and detail allow for close examination of each pore with a level of scrutiny not even permitted to lovers. The sculptures permit an impossibly close shared moment with the celebrated," Tsuji concludes, letting us confirm what we have always speculated—Warhol had killer pores.
Wil Fultonis a recent Harvard grad who just received his triple Black-Belt in kung-fu, shortly after escorting Miss America safely to the top of Mount Everest. He’s also a compulsive liar. Follow him for the real truth @WilWithOnlyOneL