Arts, Culture & Media

Pop Art Mash-Ups that Mesmerize

Paul Fuentes'pop art mash-ups combine familiar objects in unfamiliar ways. In his pastel-backed photos, this Mexico City-based graphic designerputs beards on balloons, turns limes into LPs, and wraps sheep in sushi rolls. The result is the photo version of seeing your third grade teacher at the supermarket: out of place, but intriguing.

Take, for example, this imagebelow. While your eyes expect a picture of a sandwich, the delectability disappears when you realize it'dmean biting into a snake. But if, instead, your first glance says it's a picture of a serpent?It seems much less murderous when you realize it's a meal.

Pop art mash up by Paul Fuentes

Regardless of what you see in Fuentes' work, you'll want to see it.His Instagram accountis full of surprising and devious delights, like a mash-up turning a bar of soap into a Popsicle, or lipstick emerging from a bullet. My favorite image is of a pair of delicious-looking doughnut handcuffs, allowing the wearer to be just 4 bites (and some very sticky wrists) away from freedom.

Doughnuts make handcuffs in this pop art mash up by Paul Fuentes

Fuentes' inspiration for making these mash-ups came from seeing typical pictures of food in his Instagram feed. "I decided to do the same but with a nice twist," he writes via email. "Trying a little bit to change the meaning of food."

He said he likes to think that each object has a perfect match for its mash-up, and it takes some time to decide what the perfect pairing might be. But once he finds the perfect match, Fuentes allowshis audience to decipher what, if anything, it means. "Every viewer can decide what they want," he writes. "That's what art is supposed to be --- a different interpretation for everyone."

Pop art mash up by Paul Fuentes
Lipstick turns sinister in this image by graphic designer Paul Fuentes
A pop art mash up by graphic designer Paul Fuentes
Paul Fuentes' pop art mash up of a burger and cake
A pop art mash up of a sheep and sushi by Paul Fuentes

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