See Your Favorite Artists Transformed Into Emoji

Art history geeks are in for a treat.

Emoji of Yayoi Kusama. Courtesy of Cantor Fine Art.

To the delight of art history geeks the world over, Los Angeles-based gallery Cantor Fine Art took it upon themselves to give us the emoji renditions of famous artists and popular works we’ve all been waiting for. Most of the portraits, like the one of Yayoi Kusama, underwent literal translations; others, like Damien Hirst, who takes form as a diamond skull, were subject to creative interpretation—but all are entertaining.

The Instagram project started with an emoji rendition of René Magritte’s painting, The Son of Man. “We noticed that some emoji are direct references to famous artwork,” according to the gallery’s initial post on the social media platform. (The symbol for the wave, which resembles Katsushika Hokusai‘s The Great Wave off Kanagawa, may be one such reference.)

Related: New Media Artist Creates Celebrity Portraits with Emojis

Within the space of a week, requests for emoji versions of artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, and paintings like Sandro Botticelli’s iconic The Birth of Venus, flooded the gallery’s Instagram page. But as Hyperallergic, which first had the story, is apt to point out, these emoji aren’t real, so don’t hold your breath for the latest iOS update.

Given the ubiquity of the emoji keyboard, artists across the board have made clever use of the symbols in recent years. New media artist Yung Jake, for instance, collaged the icons to create celebrity portraits. And earlier this year, artist Emma Winston brought us the Tiny Gallery, a virtual space where emoji visitors are placed in rooms to view emoji art.

See some of the gallery’s offerings below.

Related: Visit What May Be the Smallest Gallery in the World

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