Street caricatures gone digital.
This issue features the work of twenty-eight-year-old Swiss artist Joachim Sputnik, who hand painted contributors like Chiptune artist Sabrepulse and author Joshua Foer, who curated our memory playlist and recommended reading list, respectively. He also created "The Man Who Never Forgets," for our Short Stories section, where NPR's Ari Shapiro recalls one life event he'll always remember.
Influenced by early 20th Century German expressionists like Max Beckmann, Sputnik says he favors a style driven by interpretation. "It's all color and no straight edges, and you can feel the person behind the painting," he says.
Sputnik finished art school two years ago, and while there's a strong connection between his home in Basel, Switzerland, to the artistic communities of nearby Paris and Berlin, he says he wanted to play with the idea of a collective culture on an even larger scale. In March 2012, he created a Facebook Page called In Your Face Book, a personal art project for a global audience that randomly selects subjects from people who have liked the Page. "It's amazing to connect with them, to reach out to them," he says. "Painting them is communicating with them. I can touch and meet new people."
He usually works off of Facebook profile photos, crafting new versions using acrylic paint on cardboard, wood or canvas with bright colors and absolutely no rules. The results range from the whimsical to the bizarre — though not everyone has been flattered by his interpretations. "A few of them say that they don't look as they look as beautiful as they think they are in the portrait," he says, but 95 percent of the people he paints are happy to be chosen. For the other five percent, he says his work isn't about photorealism or beauty. It's about color and intuition. "It's like a hack, he says. "I'm a visual hacker."
Want your own Sputnik creation? Like his Page, In Your Face Book, for your chance.