Los Angeles-based surrealist artist Alexandra Dillon brings new life to found objects by transforming them into charming characters. Using old, worn-out paintbrushes, tools, and other studio items as her canvas, Dillon personifies each object by covering them with portrait paintings, reminiscent of the Baroque art style and Roman-Egyptian mummy portraits.
Rather than plan her imaginary portraits in advance, Dillon just begins painting and, she reveals, “They show up and tell me who they are.” Spending several days on each piece, each “old soul” is completely unique. Faces emerge from old paintbrushes, while the dusty bristles act as spiked, boxy hair that’s often decorated with painted crowns or jewels.
Dillon’s tool portraits—on objects such as axes, cleavers, and locks—evoke the “inner motivations, personal relationships, and powerful emotions” of the characters. Soft facial features are juxtaposed and confined within the hard—and often sharp—edges of old tools, and eyes and lips appear as reflections in their surfaces.
You can find more of Dillon’s tool portrait series on Instagram.