Israeli illustrator Noma Bar depicts the faces of the famous using only a few lines, colours and drawn objects. But the key to the success of the London-based artist’s work is how the objects he assembles to create each face immediately relate to the particular person in question: evoking their personality, reputation or, even, their ideology.
Hence two twisting missiles imply the familiar specs of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (above) and the merest of red lines with the Tory logo bring out the über-stern profile of Margaret Thatcher (below).
A selection of Bar’s greatest hits have been collected together in Guess Who? The Many Faces of Noma Bar (out this month) and what’s particularly revealing is just how hard-hitting his simple arrangements can be. No stranger to a controversial image, Bar’s Michael Jackson has the outline of a small child for his eyes and nose, while the unmistakable face of George W Bush is made wholly from a stylised version of an infamous photograph of a tortured Abu Ghraib prisoner.
Just as you’re remarking how cleverly he’s summed up Nick Hornby’s visage (using a record player), Bar throws in a Vladimir Putin, made solely from a test-tube pouring chemicals into an opened hand.
Bar’s understanding of pictograms, as well as his wickedly satirical eye, mark him out as one of this century’s most exciting charicaturists.
Guess Who? is published by Mark Batty Publishers, £12.95