Artist recreating cartoon characters as terrifying 3D sculptures explains why he enjoys creeping us out
Miguel Vasquez has morphed Arnold, Spongebob and more into a properly terrifying 3D reality
When you think about it, there's something unerringly odd about many of our beloved cartoon characters. Whether it's Homer Simpson and his round, yellow head or Spongebob Squarepants and his chained-to-the-nine-to-five attire, designs that are meant to be happy, in some way aren't.
These friendly faces for kids turn into something much creepier when morphed realistically into three dimensions.
This is exactly what Miguel Vasquez does, the young artist who has gone viral with his frankly disturbing recreations of much-loved animations. And yet, he reaches his designs while staying as true as possible to the original cartoon design.
His most recent recreation was of the lead character from Hey Arnold!, with an image of the sculpture being widely shared across Reddit and Twitter.
"What is so fun about it is today’s cartoons have some really weird designs in 2D and my preference is to bring them out in 3D form exactly as they are in 2D, but in 3D form," he told JOE from Southern California.
"Such as Finn, from Adventure Time, that one got a great response from the community. Such as Homer Simpson, I try to keep it as proportional and true as possible to the original cartoon design."
who win in a fight squidward or patrick? pic.twitter.com/eEoJfyp6jZ
— Miguel Vasquez (@Itsmiketheboxer) October 24, 2017
Kids' TV has always had something of a creepy element to it - just look at Mr Blobby, Pob or Baby Sinclair - but this hasn't gone away as animation technology and production techniques have evolved. That has given Vasquez a wide field of characters to draw from, with his own favourite shows having a big influence on his work.
"Definitely Spongebob and Ed, Edd n Eddy," he lists as key influences from childhood. "As a matter of fact, those two shows were the first characters I created.
"But they definitely influenced me a lot, such as Hey Arnold!, you’ll notice that with the football head I try and keep it as proportional as possible, I didn’t want to overdo it or exaggerate the features, just exactly what the creators had done with the design. Basically I made the head as the creators intended but in 3D form."
My 3D depiction of how Ed Edd n Eddy would look like in real life. pic.twitter.com/aDGsQkasuh
— Miguel Vasquez (@Itsmiketheboxer) January 21, 2018
Going viral is an art form that few have perfected like Vasquez. For every success like his, there must be a huge number of similar efforts and artworks that are published online and fail to gain large scale interest.
And yet, he is a self-confessed college dropout with these sculptures serving to fund his dreams to work for a major animation studio.
Of going viral, he says: "It’s such a great feeling, especially as an artist, this is exactly what I try to do. It’s what I go for, the reactions of the people. When I see it all over Reddit and stuff like that, I see people’s reactions, I think it’s a great feeling as an artist."
Vasquez is planning on having a go at plenty more childhood favourites as he continues to develop his talents, with a certain cartoon train next on his radar.
"Right now, I am working on Thomas the Tank Engine and I'm actually working on Dora the Explorer, and many more," he adds.
Though looking through his portfolio of work, it's hard to decide whether you can't wait for them to come out, or you'd rather the recreations not happen at all.
Arnold and Gerald. pic.twitter.com/7lXB1auTYo
— Miguel Vasquez (@Itsmiketheboxer) February 26, 2019
My 3D re-imagining of what Homer Simpson would look like in real life. pic.twitter.com/NVkyO65ItC
— Miguel Vasquez (@Itsmiketheboxer) August 17, 2018
— Miguel Vasquez (@Itsmiketheboxer) November 10, 2018