The Italian artist Donato Sansone, AKA Milkyeyes, has created a new form of digitally-assisted surrealism, and the result is quite literally face-melting. His latest project, PORTRAIT, which was funded by an Indiegogo campaign, uses Photoshop and After Effects to create Francis Bacon-like nightmare portraits of people – and then, as if things weren’t uncanny enough, animate them. The portraits, with their distorted sense of time and space, force to you sit back and slowly contemplate their beauty instead of rushing past them as so many people do with images on their daily journeys through the blogosphere. The slowness of the photographer’s gaze is important to Sansone as well. He told Creative Applications Network:
This long process that integrates editing and abstract movement of the image to a sense of surreal beauty to the whole much to think about to make a video, a video where in fact nothing happens unless the staging of these beautiful abstract portraits “live” with the possibility ‘of animated inserts of foreign elements within the scene that interact with the portraits.
The uneasy coexistence of animated and still elements has been a trademark of his work since he graduated from the Experimental Cinematography Center of Turin, where he first explored his interest in applying the logic of animated worlds to live-action footage. Sansone has been able to make his work into his life partly through the sheer allure of his videos, which have gotten over 4 million views on the web, and through some unconventional forms of entrepreneurship, including his “Porno Shop” (NSFW), where he can substitute clients into pornographic videos on commission. The goal, he writes on that site, is to “spend a sidesplitting evening by showing your friends the video of yourselves carrying on with a pornstar and telling them you work as a pornstar or betters still…”. It’s not clear how he’ll sell these more surreal, creepy portraits, but we’re sure he’ll think of something. Watch the full-length series of surreal segments in PORTRAIT below.