That's nuts! Opera singer creates incredibly realistic portraits of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Sofia Vergara and John Lennon using a host of very bizarre materials, including peanuts and DOG HAIR
- Mateo Blanco, 35, creates art with strange materials such as sugar and dog hair
- The artist’s latest piece is a portrait of Sofia Vergara made out of feathers
- He is used to dealing with incidents like fleas ‘falling in love’ with his art
Anything can be turned into a work of art - at least according to one very talented Colombian-American artist who has a unique ability to transform all manner of bizarre everyday items into stunning celebrity portraits.
Mateo Blanco, 35, has created pop culture art using a verity of strange materials like dog hair and peanuts. His work includes pieces inspired by Oprah, Dolly Parton and Michael Jackson among many others.
Although the Orlando based artist was trained as an opera singer, and even sang at one of president George H.W. Bush’s birthday parties, Mateo knew he wanted to make visual art when he found himself sneaking into art classes in college.
That's a LOT of coffee! Mateo Blanco, 35, said he likes to use materials that have something to do with his daily life like sugar and peanuts. Here he recreated Oprah Winfrey (left) and Ellen DeGeneres using coffee beans
J-Law like you've never seen her: This image of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence is made out of nearly 10,000 peanuts and was the most photographed work of art the summer of 2016
How he puts the rags to use! This portrait of country superstar Dolly Parton is Mateo’s favorite. It's made out of pieces of cloth and string and was inspired by her song Coat of Many Colors
A man of many talents: Mateo was trained as an opera singer, and even sang at one of president George H.W. Bush’s birthday parties, but knew he wanted to make visual art when he couldn’t resist sneaking into art classes in college
‘There are great artists that I admire but I started realizing that the new generation was doing more of the same. I also noticed that artists are too removed from their audience, and art is for people, not just for a certain group of people, but for everyone,’ Mateo told DailyMail.com
Then he decided to let his imagination go wild.
He had the idea of creating art with strange materials when his doctor told him he should stop eating sugar because of his health and weight.
‘So I said, “perfect, since I can’t eat sugar, I’ll make a work of art out of it!”’
And that’s how his first pieces, a collection of Marvel super heroes made out of sugar, came to life. Mateo was amazed when Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Orlando told him people were visiting just to see his sugar creations.
He realized then that there was something special about his work and it was worth pursuing.
SUPER sugary! These portraits of Captain America, Iron Man, an Avatar and Hulk were Mateo’s first works of art using odd materials. These pieces are made out of more than 60 pounds of sugar
YUM! This sculpture of baseball player Hank Aaron is made of chocolate bars. Mateo had to start all over again when he decided to work on the piece outside and it melted before being finished
May the rope be with you: The Colombian-American said he likes making art that everyone of any age can enjoy. He used rope to recreate Star War's Princess Leia (left) and doll eyes for a sculpture of a storm-trooper
His next big break came with a portrait of actress Jennifer Lawrence made out of peanuts, which was the most photographed art piece in the U.S. in the summer of 2016.
The piece was commissioned by Ripley’s for the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, which was working on a baseball exhibition. They told Mateo they wanted something featuring Louisville native J-Law that also had to do with the sport.
So Mateo went to a baseball game in search of inspiration.
‘I kept imagining her portrait as a classic one, in sepia tones, but I knew I had to go further because that’s what people like about my work.
‘The more peanuts I ate, the more I looked at the colors and said, “this color is perfect to make her portrait,”’ Mateo said to dailymail.com.
He went home and spent 400 hours recreating J-Law’s image using nearly 10,000 peanuts.
Interestingly enough, he ate so many peanuts while working on the project that his doctor told him to lay off salt.
Cool or gross? Mateo decided to make art from dog hair when his friend who works at a dog spa asked him if he could do something with all the hair he cuts daily. These portrait of icons Michael Jackson and John Lennon are made exclusively of dog hair
If you can't eat it, make art out of it! This portrait of an Avatar character is made out of pasta letters. Mateo often works with materials he likes to eat which has gotten him in trouble with his doctor
Perhaps Mateo’s most controversial works are portraits of Michael Jackson and John Lennon made out of dog hair. People were upset because they thought he must have hurt the dogs in order to get their hair.
But the reality is much less sinister: Mateo’s friend worked at a pet spa and asked him if there was anything he could do with the huge amounts of hair he cut every day.
Mateo thought it was a weird idea at first but since he couldn’t eat dog hair, it seemed like a good material to use and a great way to keep his doctor happy.
His latest piece, A Summer with Sofia, is made out of dyed hen feathers and was inspired by actress Sofia Vergara. Mateo said the work of art is ‘happy, natural, beautiful and Colombian at heart, just like the real Sofia.’
‘There must not be anything better than a summer with Sofia Vergara,’ said Mateo, who spent four months working on the feathery master piece.
Ay, que linda! Mateo's latest piece is a sculpture of fellow Colombian, actress Sofia Vergara. He had to start the piece from scratch after flees ‘fell in love’ with the hen feathers he used
Sugar never bothered him anyway: The Orlando-based artist was inspired to use odd materials when his doctor told him he should stop eating sugar. This piece features an image of Frozen’s Elsa made out of sugar
Now, THAT'S a poker face: This Queen of Hearts is made solely out of poker cards and dice
Working with such unconventional materials means Mateo has to deal with unexpected events that end up becoming a part of the work’s history. One time, he was working on a piece made out of chocolate and it melted before he even finished it.
While working on Sofia’s image, flees ‘fell in love with the feathers’ Mateo used and he had to get rid of the piece and start a completely new one from scratch.
Mateo’s art is shown all over the country but mainly at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums where they find themselves at home among other peculiarities.
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