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A writer and artist based out of Vancouver, Canada. For a large bronze sculpture commission, I crowd-sourced the planet looking for Vincent van Gogh's closest lookalike—and I found him in Christchurch, England.
We flew him to Vancouver to be 3D-scanned, and his facial data is being used as the source material to create the final sculpture of Vincent Van Gogh, forever immortalizing him in bronze.
This sculpture was commissioned by Anthony von Mandl, who will install "Vincent" at his radical new Martin's Lane Winery in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.
I was astonished by how many people sent in images. By the end, we had 1,250 entrants from 37 countries. This campaign attracted international media attention and garnered more than 500,000 votes from every corner of the globe.
I'd spent months looking at Van Gogh lookalikes on a computer screen, and then suddenly there was this man, this Vincent van Gogh, hopping out of a Vancouver taxi, looking like he'd just stepped out of the year 1889.
As soon as I saw Daniel, I knew he was the one. The popular vote helped, and consulting with doctors confirmed my choice. There is a science behind why people "look like themselves," and the final Vincent had to have the proper biometric data to match the artist. Daniel did.
Daniel's head was 3D-scanned using hundreds of cameras to generate multidimensional facial data. We then used this data to create a likeness of Van Gogh's head as a large, 2x3 metre bronze sculpture.
Martin's Lane Winery is an architecturally stunning 6-level, gravity-fed winery situated in an unlikely place - the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.
To mark the opening of this radical new Pinot Noir winery, a unique art initiative titled 'Project Redhead' was born out of the realization that Pinot Noir grapes are the result of natural mutations in Burgundy's vineyards over centuries, and red hair is a genetic mutation in humans and both represent only 2% of their respective populations.
The sculpture was commissioned by Martin's Lane Proprietor Anthony von Mandl, who is at the forefront of the winemaking revolution taking place in the Okanagan Valley, the most exciting emerging wine region in the world which The New York Times heralds as "The Napa of the North".
The completed sculpture of 'Vincent' (sans ear) is positioned on its side in the Pinot Noir vineyard at Martin’s Lane Winery... as if listening to the ground to hear the grapes growing.
Redheadedness is the most recent successful human mutation. Today, redheads make up 2% of the world's population. It appears in people with 2 copies of a recessive allele on chromosome 16, which produces an altered version of the MC1R protein. This is a complex way of saying there is no way of telling when a gene is going to change or what sort of characteristic it will bring about.
Similarly, Pinot Noir represents 2% of the wine grapes grown in the world today. Known as the "heartbreak grape," Pinot Noir is extremely delicate and its genetics make it highly susceptible to clonal evolution.
This genetic magic in both redheads and Pinot Noir grapes is a microcosm of the way in which all life on earth evolves with time.
Thank you to everyone who helped me find Vincent.