Twenty-nine-year-old Brandon Bird is pretty hip for someone who works in one of art's oldest mediums. His oil portraits might borrow motifs from an art-history textbook—Caravaggio's baroque chapel paintings; traditional Japanese silk prints; dirt-smeared cave murals—but his subject is boisterous, uninhibited pop. Ever wondered what, say, Ed Norton might look like as part of a Japanese flower painting? How about David Schwimmer doing some Hockney-flavored water aerobics? Sam Waterston brokering peace among Transformers toys, against a bleak ocher landscape?
NEWSWEEK spoke with Bird, alum of a Cornell artist-in-residence program and recipient of a 2005 Webby Award, to hear the artistic inspiration behind his wacky portraits. Click to view his works—including Michael Landon holding a giant Humboldt squid.
(To see more of Bird's work, check out his Web site.)