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Life imitating art: Astonishing '2D' makeup transforms model's face into famous paintings

Updated 7:03 AM ET, Fri December 13, 2013
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Russian makeup artist Valeriya Kutsan's new series "2D or not 2D" transforms the faces of her subjects into works of pop art. In this image, the model's skin is covered in small red dots and her hair is painted with a bright yellow color to recreate one of Roy Lichtenstein's comic-style paintings. Alexander Khokhlov
Through the use of clever perspective, bold lines and sharp blocks of color, Kutsan's models appear like two-dimensional surfaces. The makeup artist says it took at least four hours to create these living artworks, and in some cases many times longer. Alexander Khokhlov
"As a makeup artist I think that professional makeup can not only change and transform but ... give you confidence to grow your self-appraisal" Kutsan told CNN. Alexander Khokhlov
The series is dedicated to the art of Andy Warhol, and so Kutsan was keen to bring a pop art sensibility to her work, even when riffing on Renaissance paintings. Here the Mona Lisa is given a pixelated treatment for the digital age. Alexander Khokhlov
In Kutsan's eyes, makeup is a "form of theater" -- her models are actresses and they wear disguises to slip into a different character. She says she used the full range of makeup techniques at her disposal to emulate the style of other artists such as, in this case, Piet Mondrian. Alexander Khokhlov
"Every painting and artwork has its own character on the model's face," says Alexander Khokhlov, a Moscow-based photographer who teamed up with Kutsan to create the final images. Alexander Khokhlov
Here, a female model is made to look like a version of the iconic red and blue Obama poster created by graphic designer Shepard Fairey. Alexander Khokhlov
The images have also been enhanced by subtle post-production treatment, which, says Khokhlov, could sometimes take as long as five days to render. Alexander Khokhlov
In this instance, Kutsan used a patchwork of different materials, including newspaper and papier mâché to achieve a more textured, mixed media result. Alexander Khokhlov
"Me and Alexander already have several ideas for the next project," Kutsan said, "But we'll keep it secret. Just to keep the intrigue." Alexander Khokhlov
The duo's previous project "Weird Beauty" This Wifi image is part of the "Weird Beauty" series in which commonplace images and symbols are rendered in black and white on the model's faces. Alexander Khokhlov
In this work, Khokhlov says that sharp contrasts of light and dark plays against the soft beauty of the model's face with surprising results. Alexander Khokhlov
Even in the earlier series, the pop art references are still very much apparent. Alexander Khokhlov
Often, the experience of optical illusion is muddled with reality - as the model's direct stare is a deliberate reminder of the human behind the makeup. Alexander Khokhlov