In need of a smile? Visually ironic portraits.

A gifted painter with a decent university background is just as likely to starve himself to death, trying to sell his paintings, as an amateur self-taught artist. I mean, who needs another landscape when you’ve got google street view in your phone? Who needs another still life, when there are full-size dead sharks in glass boxes floating around?

Way out? Irony and surprise.

Oleg Shuplyak, a Ukrainian artist, gives you something to raise your brow and to smile at.

He’s adding things together to arrive at something bigger than the sum of the parts.

He takes a (self)-portrait + a famous painting of someone famous, for instance:

…to give you Gauguin:



Yes, Gauguin was famous for having virgins on his mind whenever it was not tormented by arguments with Van Gogh. The consequences are well-known.

Some of the ironic images he makes are very clever, and most are instantly recognisable (well, some are…not so clever, that’s also true).

Who, nonetheless, can avoid the temptation of making a few sellable pics for those who find it difficult to relate to geniuses of the past?

Nudes have always been in demand:


…as well as gaudy cityscapes which I won’t be showing.

He is a clever and gifted artist, but the irony of this whole affair is that he might get his talent killed by the market that wants nudes.

First time here? To sample this blog, click on About at the top. It has links to some of my best or typical posts. There’s an Art & Fun shelf if you feel like in need of a laugh.


  1. Some of it might be disrespectful but you can’t ignore the mastery behind it.These pictures are in the form of illusions; they depend on how the viewer looks at them.That takes a special kind of talent.

    1. I am not sure I got you right… but I am presenting all this to showcase the cleverness and knowledge of the artist ) Who doesn’t like a good illusion? I lament the absence of the artist’s answer to “What’s next” question )

      1. What i meant by my comment was in each of his paintings the artist has put a lot effort two separate pictures to make it one such painting that, depending on the viewer’s point of view tells the story. Obviously art like that implies knowledge, expertise and cleverness on the artist’s part.

      1. Yes well and upon further examination I can see that it is actually not just a a peeping tom situation but what appears to be Othello and Desdemona. Its really a brilliantly layered image of something in Shakespeare’s mind but it’s also a slightly creepy and voyeuristic in feel. And with the stage incorporated into the whole image…. wow thank you for bringing this post to the web!

  2. Arrrrgh! Something is very wrong here … If you are a decent artist and have to do commercial crap in order to pay the rent, better paint portraits of wealthy ego maniacs, no shortage of them. Don’t mess with the masters.

    1. I am afraid Ukrainian ego-maniacs (cash-rich) want something in the style of Francois Gerard but with more gilded furniture around. Some artists are not strong enough to fall that low ))

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