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'Plastic Classics': Artist recreates masterpieces with bits and pieces

Is that a Van Gogh? A Monet? A Vermeer? Nope! It's the creative work of British artist Jane Perkins, who uses a mix of plastic materials to reimagine masterpieces.

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Angel of Annunciation

By Lance Booth, TODAY

Jane Perkins of Exeter, England uses a mix of plastic materials to create works of art. After pursuing a degree in textiles at age 45, she began making brooches. “The idea for the first portrait just came into my head as I was pondering what I could do with all the lovely materials I had collected during my degree course for making brooches," Perkins told TODAY.com.

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Einstein

"Halfway through (my) first portrait I had a sort of ‘eureka moment’ when I knew it was going to work and this could become my direction," Perkins said. Since then, Perkins has been recreating famous paintings with materials she gets from shops, sales, recycling centers, friends and neighbors.

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A nod to Van Gogh

After a year of working on portraits, Perkins started to change things up. "I wanted to develop a different avenue and thought of reproducing Van Gogh's ‘Sunflowers,’” she said. "From there, 'Plastic Classics' were born."

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Vermeer revisited

Perkins’ methods have changed over the years. "My work continues to evolve and develop," she said. "I started off making 3-D noses on the portraits, but now they are flat. Sometimes I now paint a textured background to a portrait."

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Monet reimagined

Her work has been seen in exhibitions from Hong Kong to New York. "I always held on to the hope that if I liked what I was doing, there must be someone else out there in the world who would like it too," she said.

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Mona Lisa's smile

Perkins enjoys recreating a classic work again and again. She has recreated the “Mona Lisa” multiple times, with each piece looking a bit different because of the materials used.

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Jubilee Queen

Perkins said each piece usually takes her about three weeks to create, unless she works around the clock. She has managed to finish one in a week.

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Duchess Kate

Perkins’ works can be seen in different ways. From a distance, portraits can be appreciated; at closer range, the materials used can be admired.

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Princess Diana

Perkins said her family cheers her on in her work. "I am married to John, a doctor, and have two boys," she said. "My husband is very supportive and tolerant of my mess."

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Statue of Liberty

"I still enjoy making every work, especially starting a new piece and the excitement of finding materials of just the right shape or color," Perkins said. "I have a need to create something every day."

To see more of Jane Perkins’ artwork, visit her website.

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