Steve Payne takes images of Russian Generals painted by George Dawe in the 1820’s and replaces the faces with the faces of modern celebrities. Above is, of course, Bob Marley and below are our freinds Gordon Ramsey, Elvis Presley, Darren Brown, Robert Downey Jr., Steve Jobs, Sir Ian McKellen, Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, Lord Sugar, Will I Am, Sir Tom Jones OBE, Leonardo Dicaprio and Barack Obama.
It’s interesting how the uniforms give all the figures the appearance of command and stature, even those actors who seem to radiate their own presence are affected.
There are 329 portraits of the Russian generals by Dawe all decorated with numerous medals, it certainly gives Payne a good selection to match up with a celebrity.
Talking about the art of exchanging faces on Photoshop Payne says ‘The most important things to consider are anatomy, perspective and lighting. If you can get those things right, you’re more than halfway there.’ which he seems to get right in the majority of cases (See Barack Obama for one that is slightly questionable)
If anyone came across these paintings in a thousand years time, apart from a few names which might reverberate through time, these portraits would seem no different to the genuine works of Dawe. What makes them interesting for us relies on our prior knowledge of the people, then puts them in a completely different situation, and the effect for politicians is different to that on actors and musicians.