Award-winning Italian artist Guido Daniele has an exceptional talent – he can transform human hands into ‘handimals’, hyper-realistic animal portraits.
With a career as an illustrator spanning over 40 years, Guido began to explore and experiment with body art and using the human body as a canvas in 1990. Gradually, he perfected the art of making his models contort their bodies into specific positions and using his painting skills to turn them into realistic portraits and scenes.
In 2000, an art director asked him if he could paint animals on people’s hands without using photoshop. “After I tried doing it, I was the first one to be positively surprised with the beautiful result,” he said. “I did not know that a great artist from Florence, Mario Mariotti, did the same artistic research before me. From 2000 onwards, I began my research on the ‘Handimals’”.
That same year, Guido released his world-famous ‘Handimals’ series, consisting of 77 highly detailed animals painted onto hands that were twisted and manipulated into various positions to form beaks, trunks, feathers, and more.
Guido believes that his work is so well received because hands – after the face – are the most expressive part of the body. “So seeing hands transforming into so many different things, such as animals or natural environments, is something that surely fascinates people, both children and adults. I just look at my hands and try to imagine all different things and animals they could turn into.”
Guido revealed that he wanted to be an artist ever since elementary school. “I was only five years old when my teacher asked me to make a greeting card for the headmaster,” he recalled fondly. “It was obvious that I was the most creative and artistic child in the whole school, so after that episode all my classmates began to ask me to do their drawings and caricatures.”
“I want to try to paint all what is possible to paint on hands and bodies: animals, flowers, materials, architectures, objects, cars, dreams,” he said. “Now I am 62 years old, I only have 20 years more to find my artistic visionary in this world, in this life. In my next life, I would like to be a doctor, surgeon, inventor, or scientist and do something to make the human life less suffering – build a better world.”
Guido, who now lives and works out of Milan, is often contracted by some of the world’s biggest advertising agencies – they regularly use photographs of his body art in various product endorsements. His work has also been used to help promote charities such as the WWF.
To see more pictures of Guido’s amazing work, check out his official website, here.