Artist Michael Jason Enriquez shows celebrity mugshots in a whole new light.
Starting with the 'normal' mugshots of contemporary icons such as Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, and Khloe Kardashian amongst others, Enriquez fuses them with vintage portrait-style mugshots of the 20s, creating an eerie experience of 'déjà vu all over again' as the final image is at both old, new and familiar at the same time.
"The vintage mugshots were carefully composed, and it even looked like the criminals were given a wardrobe," Enriquez told The Huffington Post about the archived photos of 1920's crooks he worked with.
The artist discovered the images in Sydney in 1989 and are stored with Australia's Historic Houses Trust.
"They were mugshots of whores, gangsters, fraudsters, and crooks from the twenties. They made the rounds on different blogs a couple years ago. I remember seeing them and thinking how cheap and tacky the mugshots we have today look. Celebrities can't help but pose for the camera and that's evident in some of their mugshots, but as glamourous as our celebrities are, they can't compete with how cool these 1920's criminals looked."
As the son of immigrant parents, Enriquez knows what it can be like to not meet the high expectations others have for you. In this way he felt he could relate to today's celebrities who are expected to live up to nearly impossible standards of perfection.
"I came to the U.S. when I was ten years old," Enriquez said to The Huffington Post. "I grew up in a lower income area, had friends whose dads were shot in gang drive-bys, and later those friends would find themselves also in gangs. I was too nerdy to get involved with a gang. I had the burden of being the son of immigrants who encouraged me dress up like a doctor for Halloween - the image of success and the payoff to all the sacrifices my parents had to make for the 'American Dream.'"
But he never became a doctor, and that feeling of letting down his parents didn't easily go away, Enriquez said.
"I guess that feeling of not living up to someone else's expectations of you has always followed me around. In that way, I can relate to the celebrities who have messed up and had their mugshots taken. In a single image, a mugshot of a celebrity role model is able to encapsulate the ridiculousness of perfection."
Enriquez wanted to predate today's celebrity mugshots, giving them a new feel and maybe even a new identity, allowing others to see the normality in their lives.
It's not the first time Enriquez goes down this road. Earlier this year his 'Cholafied' series generated some buzz as he fused celebrity photos with the makeup and adornments of 'cholas', bringing into one image the high-life of Hollywood celebrities and the self-made glamour of East L.A.
Placing himself in the mind of the beholder, Enriquez asks "if Lindsay Lohan lived in the 1920's would she be arrested? Is this what her mugshot would look like? Why is it so fascinating to see the imperfection of human nature captured for posterity? Maybe it's because we can relate to that imperfection whether it's a movie star from 2012 or a pick pocketer from 1922. Maybe we see ourselves in the mugshots."
Robert Downing Jr.
Michael Jason Enriquez is an Art Director and Advertising student at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and a creative intern at an advertising agency RPA in Santa Monica. You can see more of his work here.
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