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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.
This is the first in a series of monumental outdoor works titled "Redheads" commissioned by Anthony von Mandl, who is at the forefront of the winemaking revolution taking place in the Okanagan Valley, a region the The New York Times heralds as "The Napa of the North".
The large bronze sculpture will be installed in the Pinot Noir vineyard at Martin's Lane Winery. The architecturally stunning 6-level, gravity-fed winery is a bold reflection of von Mandl's vision, passion, and innovative approach to winemaking.
The final sculpture will be revealed on April 22nd, 2017 at a special pre-conference adventure for attendees of the TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada.
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, and be sure to stay tuned for the next work in my "Redheads" series.