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Hair today, art tomorrow: Filipino salon owner uses own hair to create portraits

Using a thin brush and clear, sticky resin, the co-owner of a Manila hair salon sprinkles these collected strands and clippings on a blank white canvas

jesstoni garcia, hair artArtist and Filipino seafarer Jesstoni Garcia works on a portrait of Rihanna, made out of human hair, in San Juan City, Philippines, March 10, 2022. (REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

Every few months when Jesstoni Garcia takes electric clippers to his head, he’s not just giving himself a haircut, he’s also harvesting art materials.

Using a thin brush and clear, sticky resin, the co-owner of a Manila hair salon sprinkles these collected strands and clippings on a blank white canvas, taking two to five hours to arrange them into striking images of musicians and actors.

The 32-year-old’s main job as a seaman involves spending up to eight months a year on cruise ships, and lacking adequate art supplies like paint and sketchpads at sea, Garcia in 2021 turned to using his own hair to create images. He started with self-portraits and eventually moved on to depicting celebrities.

Artist and Filipino seafarer Jesstoni Garcia shaves his hair to create a portrait, in San Juan City, Philippines. (REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

Away at sea much of the time, rather than in his salon, he uses only his own hair, sometimes shaving his sideburns when he needs extra material.

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Garcia said making this art helps ease his stress as long voyages take a toll on his physical and mental health.

“We need to have an outlet to deal with depression. For me, my outlet was making art,” he said, adding that he eventually wants to sell his work.

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First published on: 27-03-2022 at 11:25 IST
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