You could be forgiven for thinking that these paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Kip Omolade are the real thing – actual chrome masks attached to a painted canvas, but it’s all paint.
His series, aptly entitled Diovadiova Chrome, references, in part, historical African art and beauty, while also embracing and exploring contemporary aspects of identity, luxury, and immortality.
“The labor-intensive process involves making a mold and cast of each model’s face, reworking the cast plaster sculpture, producing a version in resin and adding a chrome layer with artificial eyelashes.
The final sculpture then serves as a model for the hyper-realistic oil painting. This technique maintains the likeness qualities of portraiture while re-presenting a mask that serves as a conduit between the spiritual and natural world.”
“My Diovadiova Chrome portraits historically connect to ancient, realistic African sculptures such as Benin ivory masks and Ife bronze heads. The oil paintings are psychological studies that investigate immortality, the universal masks we all wear and contemporary notions of beauty and luxury,” writes the New York-based artist.
Kip began his artistic journey as a graffiti artist while interning at Marvel Comics and The Center for African Art.
He continued his studies at The Art Students League of New York and earned a BFA at the School of Visual Arts. His work is available directly or through Opera Gallery Hong Kong and Opera Gallery Singapore.
You can see more of his extraordinary art on his website, or on Instagram.