Celebrity portraits pop up in Toronto's west-end...
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Feb 13, 2017  |  Vote 0    0

Celebrity portraits pop up in Toronto's west-end neighbourhoods

Images are part of Toronto photographer's project

SIDEBAR

WHAT IS THE UNCANNY VALLEY PROJECT?

The idea behind the project was to explore the phenomenon that a computer-generated figure or human-like robot bearing a near-identical resemblance to a human being arouses a sense of unease or revulsion in the person viewing it, Lusztyk said.

“It was a bit of an experiment or a test where using the photographic medium, can you take these life-like representations of the real people and present them in a way where the person is tricked or fooled into believing that what they’re looking at is not a simulation, but a real thing,” he said. “That’s the point.”
Bloor West Villager

Britney Spears has become a regular at the Bloor Mini Mart in Bloorcourt Village.

She’s been seen smiling at the side of the building since the beginning of February – in fact, several celebrities like Justin Bieber and Sandra Bullock have also been spotted in the area.

“It’s great,” Simon Hong, manager of the Bloor Mini Mart, told The Bloor West Villager. “This one is good.”

There’s a catch though – they haven’t been seen in the area in person, but headshots of their wax figures fill some of empty billboard space in and around Bloorcourt.

The photos of their respective wax figures are part of Toronto photographer Peter Andrew Lusztyk’s “Uncanny Valley” project.

Lusztyk, 34, who lives in the Junction Triangle, travelled to Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas in July 2016 with his assistant to capture the images.

“I kind of sparked this idea that maybe it would be interesting to shoot celebrities without actually ever meeting them,” Lusztyk told The Villager. “I had an idea of how I wanted to light it and wanted to sort of trick people and make them appear as life-like as possible so they thought they were actually looking at the real thing.”

Bullock has found a home at Foto Grocery on Ossington Avenue near Hallam Street. An employee at the store, who didn’t want her named published, told The Villager she wasn’t even aware Bullock was on the side of the building.

She has since become an attraction on Instagram with people trying to get a shot with her.

“I thought it would be neat to introduce them into the public’s daily visual environment forcefully, and these advertisement boards are normally empty ... I had one print of Evel Knievel up in the studio and I sort of realized that it’s almost the same size,” Lusztyk said. “I kept finding these boards everywhere, and so we printed I think five or six more, but this time we printed them exactly the size … the response has been tremendous.”

The portraits have become so popular, Lusztyk said they have been disappearing but he’s not upset about it.

“It’s inevitable,” he said. “You can’t put something out in the public sphere and expect it to last forever.”

Furthermore, Hong said someone graphiti-ed over the Spears picture, but somebody later came to clean it.

Looking forward, Lusztyk said he is hoping to expand the project and shoot at other wax museums.

 

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