By Josh Saunders
An artist is transforming models into ‘twisted imitations’ of famous figures from Donald Trump to Tarantino, Bowie, Zuckerberg and more.
Marie-Lou Desmeules, 39, from Quebec, Canada, spends up to five-hours applying paint and packaging rests to turn normal people into celebrities, pop-culture, and historical figures.
She started painting on people 10-years-ago and developed her process of ‘crossmetic surgery’, which sees her analyse ‘the mask we wear’ and how that relates to beauty and success.
Of the 200 ‘abstract’ interpretations of the figures, they also include: Kanye West, Pamela Anderson, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Manson, Kim Yong Un, Barrack Obama, Mona Lisa and Sigmund Freud.
The underlying message the full-time artist, currently based in Valencia, Spain, hopes to communicate is that ‘beneath all of our material trappings, we are equally human’ and the ‘subjectivity’ of fame.
Marie-Lou said: “I called it ‘Crossmetic Surgery’, I turn people into a living sculpture in the twisted likenesses of celebrities, pop culture or historical figures, through a cosmetic surgery.
“Instead of using a scalpel or botox, I use my paintbrushes and packaging rests to carve out the new characters – the final artwork is a photograph.
“I am fascinated by the power of the image and the image in the public eye, the mask we wear, what beauty and success is.
“I truly feel accomplished when I make a crossmetic surgery, and I can meet famous personalities, dead or alive.
“Because they have that something unique, as an homage, because I’d like to meet them or just because they are so present in the medias and I need to exorcise them.
“A Crossmetic surgery is a complex & intensive process – it is a crossing between painting, sculpture, photography, dj and cosmetic surgery.
“I have to be fast because there is a human being under those messy layers of acrylic paint and packaging rests.
“For me, it is a non-stop adrenaline process full of emotions, like a catharsis.
“For the model, it is an introspective experience, like a therapy.
“My creations are my life, they are unique portrait yet unique experience. They witness a chaotic orchestra of emotions.
“They put us in the space to think critically about the power of the image, playfully reminding us that beauty and success are truly subjective -beneath all of our material trappings, we are equally human.”
Maire-Lou aspired to be a caricaturist as a child, starting as a painter before transitioning painting portraits to people ten-years-ago.
She said: “As a child, I wanted to become a caricaturist, I started my career as a painter in Berlin, doing big colourful portraits.
“Then I got bored of a fixed frame and started painting on top of people 10-years-ago.
“Crossmetic surgery is the result of many years of research and work on portraiture.
“Besides all the time I need to collect material, ideas, clothes, to study the model and the character’s features etc, I need to work on the model from two to five hours.”
Marie-Lou has been selected for the Anderson Rach Arts Central Fall 2017 Artist-in-Residence program and fellowship based at Snowmass in Colorado, USA.
She worked on over 200 transformations ranging from political to figures of art, celebrities and more.
She said: “I love them all, they are like my family.
“I like a lot the series “Birds of Hollywood”, with David Lynch and Hitchcock – I really had the impression I met them in person, in my studio.
“I also like ‘self-portrait on my husband’, this is a pretty surreal one.”
For more visit: www.marieloudesmeules.com
SOME OF THE 200 CROSSMETIC SURGERIES
Kim Yong Un
Trump (entitled “Trompe-l’oeil”)
The Desperate Man of Gustave Courbet