Speaking from his studio in Moscow, Alexander Khokhlov is currently working with his wife and muse, Veronica on their latest – and first World Cup-themed – project. ‘The process of creating any image begins with ideas,’ Khokhlov notes. ‘How it comes up is difficult to explain.’
Taking inspiration from well-known logos and symbols, Khokhlov’s earlier work used models’ faces as canvases for visual illusions. Black and white face paint was applied to create a flattened, two-dimensional appearance. In one portrait, a model’s face was transformed into a wifi symbol and in another, a perfectly circular eight-ball. Each image can take up to six days to create; several hours for make-up, an hour to shoot and a few days to edit.
As the Art of Face project developed, Khokhlov moved away from logos and started to transpose well-known aesthetic themes to create what the photographer calls, ‘alive posters’. Line, space and colour were used to blur the boundary between photographs and famous paintings. In one image, a model’s face was transformed into a cartoon woman, reminiscent of an Andy Warhol-style painting. Another model’s face has been transformed to look like Obama’s ‘Hope’ poster.
Khokhlov’s latest venture is a collaborative project, celebrating Spain’s (short-lived) participation in the 2018 World Cup. Their latest visual illusion reimagines a football fan in the style of a Picasso. Why Picasso? ‘He is one of our most beloved artists, and probably the most famous and inspirational,’ Khokhlov explains. The face and torso serves as the canvas for a surrealist-cubist bull, in homage to the famous symbol of Spain.