This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
Over the years, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's done everything imaginable to present himself as warm-blooded human, employing stylists and make-up artists, limiting photography by the media, and releasing an unstoppable flurry of propaganda-like photos. As it turns out, most of these efforts are effectively pointless once a dildo is gently inserted into the frame, which is exactly what an artist from Montreal has been doing for the past year, posting the phenomenal results on his Tumblr "Stephen Harper's Dildos."
We spoke with Maxime, a Montreal artist who doesn't want his full name associated with Harper and dildos, about his creative process.
VICE: What first inspired Harper's Dildos?
Maxime: I was trying to find some new humor and concepts to ridicule Harper; I saw a few Photoshop montages but they was badly done. I have some skills at Photoshop so I decided to browse the web. The artistic motive behind it is because Harper is so awkward about emotions: he shakes hands with his daughter. It's like he can't have physical contact with anyone. It was a way to make it even more obvious and awkward by bringing it to another level.
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Is there a special something you're looking for in Harper when you pick a photo?
Harper talks with his hands, so I try to find some picture that I can put a dildo in. The content too is important. There are two kinds: very absurd and unrealistic, like the guitar. The other kind of image is the kind where it seems like the dildo belongs there, like it was part of the image.
How long does it take to make each picture?
It depends on each one. The photo with the army took much longer than others. I've made a lot of photos. I have a nice collection of dildos already cut and ready.
Is there anything you do to prepare for the editing?
I don't smoke weed, but when I make those images generally I have one or two drinks. It's always on my mind. As soon as I see an image of Harper that may work I save the image and put it aside for later.
This current federal election is the longest in modern history. Do you think you'll be able to keep up with new dildo material?
I try. I have some montages that are already made but haven't posted yet. Along the election campaign, I'll be putting some updates regularly. Understand that this is a serious artistic protest. The goal is to make those images viral. If I can convince at least one person not to vote for Harper because they've seen an image of Harper with a dildo in his hand, my work is done.
Finally, do you think Harper has ever actually touched a dildo?