Barber Puts Famous Faces On People's Heads

San Antonio's Rob Ferrel cuts lifelike celebrity portraits in hair

Facebook/Rob FerrelBarber Rob Ferrel puts Bruce Lee's face on a customer's head.
Can a haircut be a work of art? It certainly can if the man behind the scissors, razor, and eyeliner pencil is Rob Ferrel. A former carpenter, he found his talent in creating lifelike celebrity portraits on people's heads, according to the New York Daily News.

Ferrel cuts and draws images of such people as Albert Einstein, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Nelson Mandela. Barack Obama, Johnny Depp (appropriately as the character Edward Scissorhands), and rapper Tupac Shakur have all been subjects. He's even done Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame, which speaks to the irony of creating an image of a shaved head on a shaved head.

During the World Cup, Ferrel was busy creating portraits of famous soccer players on the backs of people's heads, as Time reported. Most of his customers asked for images of players from the US and Mexico teams. The image of goalie Tim Howard, with a full-color flag in the background, was particularly spectacular.

Ferrel doesn't discriminate against sports, however. He did a portrait of San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili after the team its fifth championship.

It's not easy work. Ferrel likens it to "trying to draw on a baseball." He starts with one section and then keeps adding pieces, working with a smartphone in hand so he can work from an existing picture. Here's an example of how he recreated Heath Ledger playing The Joker.

Of course, the face doesn't have to be a celebrity. Here's an image of a man who had his son's face put on the back of his head.

Ferrel found his calling in 2008, when he experimented on his 14-year-old brother, as he told the Daily News. He had been doing designs on hair at local barbershops, but others were copying his designs. Getting a face right is a lot more challenging, and that's before you try to show reggae musician Bob Marley and comedian and actor Tommy Chong fame in 3-D.

You'd not likely to see Ferrel's work in an art gallery (although you can see a lot of it on his Instagram page). However, unlike a more conventional artist, his work eventually grows back in. Call it a form of job security.

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