We base our judgements on all available evidence, on the complete context. Artists do strange things, and tattoo artists can reach the transgressive outer edge. Within this frame of reference, the freakish feels plausible.
A man had actor Will Smith’s face tattooed over his own face. It’s an irresistible mashup of fame and freakish. The photo went viral in early 2020 and a tempest of fevered controversy swept Instagram, Facebook, Reddit. The uncannily clean photo gathered defenders and true believers, but some suspected Photoshop, others the hand of a hyper-realistic makeup artist. Online sleuths eventually traced the image to famed Barcelona tattoo artist Victor Chil (434,000 Instagram followers). It displayed his trademark representational style, pushed the boundaries in his fashion. But did that mean the photo should be taken at face value? Is it Chil’s most outré tattoo?
Victor Chil admitted the tattoo came from his hand. But not on a face, on what looks to be as hairy upper right thigh. On February 23, 2020, Chil posted the photo on Instagram; “Actually this is the original portrait of @willsmith I did five years ago” The sleekly deceptive Photoshop face-on-face transplant is the work of digital artist Philip Kremer who, by the evidence of Instagram, specializes in vivid, memorable, and sometimes grotesque transformations of faces.