Some among us have witnessed a botched plastic surgery procedure that, for some reason or another, didn't exactly go as anticipated. Thank you, reality television. However, even the most heinous of surgical blunders does not compare to the radical results of conducting plastic surgery with, not a scalpel or a knife, but good old paint.
Today we're ogling the work of Marie-Lou Desmeules,
an amateur surgeon a French-Canadian professional artist who uses pure pigment to transform living models into bizarre sculptures of surreal celebrity lookalikes. Desmeules piles on paint like it's frosting, tweaking and tempering until her human subjects look like deranged versions of Barack Obama, Pamela Anderson or Elvis Presley. Like the lovechild of Alexa Meade and Jaimie Warren, with a little Madame Tussauds thrown in.
We reached out to Desmeules to learn more about her work.
What inspired this unusual idea?
People! People inspire me in the way they project themselves to the others. I am fascinated at how the image we project is becoming more powerful than ourselves. As Andy Warhol said: "It is not what you are that matters, it is what they think you are!"
I am inspired by the notion of beauty, the growing plastic surgery industry, gender and identity. I am attracted by the bizarre and strange, all that goes outside the standard. In my "celebrities series" I focused more on the cult of image we practice today. Our culture wants us to reflect success, happiness and beauty... From getting self tanned, setting up selfies, getting face-lifts or buying a new ass or nose people transform themselves into their heroes. And the price to reach perfection is loosing your own identity. Somehow I am inspired by all these ideas to create my own language in my work.
What is your process?
I constantly research new images and information to learn and challenge me. I select many ideas, icons and projects and I work on them guided by my feelings. I also research day-by-day -- in any place, new things attract my attention in flea-markets such as masks, hair, latex pieces or any recycled piece of clothing that I find interesting. My studio has plenty of inspiring objects for my work.
A "surgery" takes up all of me and is very intense since I may only work for a couple hours because I always work with a model, and I don't want him/her to sit on a chair for more than three hours. I have to prepare my mind and all the settings and things I might use for the operation. Music plays a big role in my art and therefore I also preselect most of my music for each performance to help me get in the mood of the surgery I am creating. I do not have a standard process to create a surgery. Actually, my process is in constant evolution which creates a thrilling challenge.
In my last project, the challenge was to create a series of world leaders and make them fashionable. I decided to mix them up up with cartoons and pop culture characters that suit their image. Barack Obama as Mickey Mouse, Kim Jong-Un as LEGO Man, Berlusconi as McDonald and Patrick (from "Spongebob") as David Cameron.
I actually may express better with my art or with my videos compilations than with my words, so I made this video.
What do you hope to communicate through your work?
My surgeries are a really big part of me. This big part of me is truthful, fun and perfectionist. The surgeries are done with passion and when I am doing them I really think about doing something which will make me proud. I also hope my work may help other people get a different perspective on what they see everyday. Maybe it will make them think twice about what they see and their preconceptions of the images we see.