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Artist Creates Fluffy Celebrity Portraits with Dog Hair

Colombian-American artist and opera singer Mateo Blanco was in the news late last year for creating three celebrity portraits out of the most unusual material – dog hair! Blanco revealed that he was listening to Lennon when inspiration struck, and he decided to honor the three late singers with dog hair purchased from a local groomer.

The portraits – of musicians John Lennon, Michael Jackson, and Jimi Hendrix – were purchased by Orlando-based Ripley Entertainment and unveiled at Ripley’s Odditorium on December 12. The Michael Jackson portrait is still on display in Orlando, while John Lennon is currently at Ripley’s Mexico City, and Jimi Hendrix at Ripley’s Key West Odditorium.

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This isn’t the first time Blanco has used unusual media in his art work, though. Early last year, he had produced pop-culture portraits using sugar, which were also lapped up by Ripley’s. The company has a history of acquiring unusual pieces of art made with non traditional media, such as jelly beans and dryer lint.

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This year, Ripley’s commissioned Blanco to create another celebrity portrait – his tenth for the company. But this time, they had two conditions – the person had to be from Kentucky, and the materials used had to be associated with baseball. So Blanco rose to the challenge by choosing a combination of Jennifer Lawrence and peanuts.

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He used nearly 10,000 Planters Cocktail Peanuts to create a portrait of Lawrence, a task that took him nearly 400 hours to complete. He started by drilling holes on a wooden backing board to make an outline, and then glued peanuts into the holes. But his biggest challenge, he said, was to refrain from eating too many peanuts!

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“I love peanuts, so as soon as I began I ate like three or four peanuts for every one peanut I put in the portrait,” he joked.

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“We of course had to get it framed to prevent people from chewing on Jennifer’s ears,” added Meyer,” said Edward Meyer, Ripley’s VP of Exhibits and Archives. “Mateo and his art are bigger than life, I truly had no idea what he could create to fill our criteria of having to be made from something associated with baseball. The end result is one of the most original pieces in our vast collection of unbelievable art.” The Lawrence portrait will be used at an upcoming baseball-themed show at the Louisville Slugger Museum (located in Louisville) next year.

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Sources: Ripley’s, IC Florida

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