The Abraham Lincoln exhibit at the Reagan Library has a jaw-dropping, larger than life Portrait of Abraham Lincoln on display. The piece is the work of Los Angeles based special effects makeup artist and sculptor, Kazuhiro Tsuji.
Originally, from Kyoto, Japan, Kazu has worked with famed makeup artist Dick Smith (Amadeus, The Exorcist, The Godfather) and began his craft in the U.S. in 1996 on "Men In Black." He won a BAFTA award for “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and has received Oscar nominations for “Click” and “Norbit.”
In 2007 Kazuhiro Tsuji started KTS Effects in Burbank. His hyper realistic technique, learned while he was in the film industry, renders portraits that emit a profound sense of soul and emotion to viewers.
I was in awe when I saw Kazu's work up close at the Reagan Library, as I stopped and looked at the piece from various angles. It was almost eerie looking at Lincoln as it seemed he was looking back at me. I asked Kazu some questions about his work:
How did you create the Lincoln piece and what is it made out of?
Portrait of Abraham Lincoln was created over 10 weeks, beginning in November 2012 and was completed on January 17th. Lincoln was sculpted in clay and a mold was created. It is composed of silicone, resin, cotton fabric, wood and human hair. The silicone skin was painted, hair was punched one by one, eyes were created and assembled together.
Why did you create this particular Lincoln piece?
After creating my first piece modeled afer Dick Smith ten years ago, I decided my next piece would be Abraham Lincoln. I focused on my career as a special effects makeup artists for many years, then recently the timing worked out to start this piece as fine art piece. I respect him as one amazing human being and I think he has an amazing face as artistic subject.
How are you able to create such life-like work?
It takes a lot of work and study of the subject through every step of the process. I try to put life intomy work to make it real, from the inside out, not just a superficial duplication of an image. I pour in my respect, love and admiration for my subject into my work.
To learn more about Kazu's work, visit his website at kazustudios.com.