by Maria Sofou

Los Angeles-based contemporary hyperrealist sculptor Kazuhiro Tsuji is well known for his massive sculpted portraits of famous people like Andy Warhol, Dick Smith and Abraham Lincoln.

His latest work is an astonishing portrait of Frida Kahlo, made with such realism and skill that almost feels alive! Tsuji’s incarnation of her is stoic and more uplifted than what we are used to, both literally and figuratively as the great artist appears to be raised by two golden hands.

“My aim is to sculpt portraits that go beyond capturing a likeness.  I create these heads from the inside out, bringing to life the appearance of inner thought and emotion as I layer the silicone. Empathy serves as a primary guide to my process.  I strive for a kind of reticence, an ambiguity that teases your curiosity to keep you guessing at what thoughts lurk behind those eyes.  When a neutral expression is adjusted just right, it can trigger an illusion that the face is on the verge of sliding into different moods. It’s a kind of subtlety that serves as a mask hiding a complexity beneath. Face to face, viewers approach the giant heads which are eight times bigger than life size in volume. The stillness and detail allow for close examination of each pore with a level of scrutiny not even permitted to lovers. The sculptures permit an impossibly close shared moment with the celebrated,” Tsuji explains.