There’s not much an artist can do to make Donald Trump look any creepier than he already does, but one Québécoise portraitist has pulled it off. Deep red and fleshy pink meet in expressive brushstrokes, built up with thick layers of paint, paper, and plastic, all topped with a yellow wig and wispy eyebrows. And the grotesque result is made even more uncanny by the fact that instead of a canvas, Marie-Lou Desmeules paints portraits on people.
Desmeules’ practice, which she refers to as “plastic surgery.” comprises her sculpting the likenesses of celebrities, world leaders, cartoon characters, artists, animals, and more onto human bodies, creating horrifying, piñata-like results. Once, she even made a self-portrait using her husband as canvas (below). But rather than sculpture, she thinks of her work as a sort of reversible plastic surgery, doubly applicable to her works that replicate silicon-filled stars.
“Plastic surgery became a crucial component of my work when I created the Celebrities, showing lookalikes of icons such as Pamela Anderson, Rambo, and Barbie. In this series I started to depict muscles, silicone boobs, nose jobs, facelifts, fake tans, etc. But instead of using a scalpel and botox I use paint, paper, hair and plastic,” she tells The Creators Project.
“Sometimes I see my work as a tribute to people who have undergone plastic surgeries to become their idols’ impersonators. In both cases, the human beneath becomes the support of someone else's image. I think this is what makes it creepy,” she elaborates.
See more of Desmeules’ work on her website.