Lucas Levitan is a London and Madrid-based cartoonist and former creative director with roots in the advertising world who's well known for his audacious works that take the ordinary and every day, turning them into surprising yet cheeky works of art, sculpture, film, or photography.
One of the multimedia artist's ongoing projects is a take on other creators' Instagram posts or photographs. The project called "Photo Invasion" has Brazilian-born Levitan draw on the photos to provide a new narrative and context in the most irreverent way.
Levitan's inspiration comes from such a diverse set of ideas, but some common themes use beverages, natural landscapes, wide-angle shots featuring what appears to be miniature-sized people, animals, insect closeups, and artistic works of art. He also plays on ordinary and candid poses by people caught mid-action. Some of the characters he creates make regular appearances. Our favorite is grandma.
Levitan has said he could spend hours looking for his next creation; the work applied evident as the final result is clever, witty, and a pioneering new way to view photography.
Everyone loves a pet pic and cat meme — exactly the result of this adaptation. The chance shot was likely caught as the grey beauty lifted its leg for a scratch, but instead seems like it's looking for a breezy exit, opportune timing for a Levitan illustration with a candle to blow out.
A little dark humor as a typical touristy picture of a person posing pushing a larger than human-size boulder is customized with a nonchalant giant, casually flicking the rock the other way. The result is a gruesome splat in one of Levitan's moving animations. Maybe he didn't see him?
We've all imagined it when the snow outside is so picture-perfect; someone could have visited in the middle of the night to sprinkle it on the hedges outside. Fairies or perhaps oversized boys with yellow earmuffs. It's like the artist read our minds.
Even Santa has deadlines. The holidays aren't the same without some festive humor, so Levitan puts a spin on this photo of a lady stepping down from her chimney stem, looking behind to see a disgruntled — and disheveled — Father Christmas. Perhaps a head start on those brandies left him running behind schedule.
The Brazilian artist gets abstract by adapting a random and reverse shot of a pair of hands and arms grasping a floor. He expertly draws on the neck, body, and legs of a pair of pelicans standing in water, making use of shadows and including a dusty pink background.
This creation ups the game on latte art as Levitan depicts a steaming cup of coffee through animation. Along comes a pair of hands to tie those streams of heat into a tidy bow. Whether he meant it as the antipode of a coffee break or a hot gift, we're buying.
Placing a little man cozily tucked under the ocean tide on this beach scene is genius. Not only does it give new meaning to the term "ocean bed," but it plays on the calming environment of the sea's gentle current traveling up the shore. There's even room for spectacles and an alarm clock.
Ever roamed around a museum adorned with sculptures from the ancient periods of the Romans and Greeks, pondering their near un-worldly perfection? Let's face it; if it wasn't a public place, there'd be halls full of people checking ourselves in comparison, like Levitan's cartoon.
Levitan gives a biographical hint through his Manuela 65 creation as a sketched in person, perhaps resembling the artist without his signature beard, hugs the coastline of Porto Alegre, the southern city in Brazil where he studied. He labeled it Manuela 65, nodding to the Mayoral campaign of Manuela D'Ávila.
Antlers would make for an excellent accessory to hang your clothes to dry, and Levitan certainly had the right idea when depicting this striking reindeer with laundry draped over its horns. With a basket of wet clothes to go, the only question is how Levitan's little man will reach those top branches.
Too tempting to resist. When you're presented with someone's bare feet, soles up, there for the taking... Levitan's man in pajamas gently stroking those undersides is all of our inner devils, itching to do exactly the same thing. It could be anyone, making the victim's anonymous identity even more apt.
Those small paper boats were made for someone. This lonely mock vessel that seems to have been left at the edge of a terrace wall is the perfect setting for two of Levitan's characters to set sail and row into the sunset. Fair wind and a following sea.
Some of us see Jesus in our awkward-looking vegetables, Levitan sees a turtle in a solitary round loaf sitting on a wooden rack. What better chance to draw in a turtle's head and feet to complete the image. The bread's own scores from its central mound provide added effect.
Levitan sullies a festive Chanel No. 5 poster with hilarious results. The digital defilement has a seasonally dressed model perched atop a perfume bottle, shaking a snow globe, transforming into the same ethereal-like figure, this time perched on a toilet seat magically conjuring a tissue roll from inside the transparent dome.
Levitan seems unable to resist photo-bombing an extreme wide-angle shot that gives the impression of lots of people filling the image. A sea full of swimmers or a cityscape full of dwellers going about their business is the perfect context for a giant to come and vacuum them all up.
This photo invasion is perhaps a new take on the classic stairway to heaven. Dark clouds over a cityscape are adapted by Levitan with an illustrated escalator, upon which people with umbrellas and bags patiently ascend into the sky. Where they are going? That's up to the viewer's imagination.
Plants provide endless inspiration for Levitan as funky and outrageous hairstyles. A hanging bunch of unidentified fauna, tended to by a woman in lycra extending herself upwards, is the perfect scene for an extra lanky individual to get his locks tended to with such care.
Arctic scenery is always unusual, with plenty of shapes and structures for the native animal life to have a lifetime of adventures. Levitan makes those polar bears seem a little less remote by drawing in a tennis net and swimming rings for a little more familiar extracurricular fun.
Levitan's ominous wit strikes again with this otherwise innocuous picture of a shower. A little photoshopping of blood on the walls and grandma character with a suspect knife tucked into her bun, cleaning up the evidence, makes for a foreboding plot. The victim, this time, was out of shot.
Levitan's fondness for a dark storyline combines well with his knack for creating narratives around insect closeups. A scorpion with magnificently extended pincers is depicted holding out a measuring tape against the lid of a coffin. Meanwhile, Levitan's granny is seen carrying away her potential victim, rolled up in carpet.
A graveyard photo is populated with a family of white ghosts, which tells its own story decontextualized from the tombstones within view. Here, the mama and papa ghosts look on with tears in their eyes as their baby leaves the fold. Perhaps he has graduated to haunting houses?
Levitan takes out the mystery with this alternative love story, which he depicts here with a hen, head towards the floor, as he draws in Hugo and a chequers board. This adaptation is the first scene where Hugo met Ingrid in a Bean vs. Corn tournament in 2003 before they got engaged.
A little art-on-art whimsy. The innovative creator draws around an artistic shot of an egg with shadow on a clear and almost flawless surface. A cubist interpretation from Levitan's intruding chicken with canvas and easel sees the egg-shape depicted as a pure white block. A spin on Louis Dudamel's photograph.
A continuously in-vogue fruit, has anyone ever considered the life and birth of the avocado? Levitan shines fresh light on the subject, placing half an avo with the stone still in place on a kitchen trolley, much resembling a surgical table, rubbing its pit-full belly as its other half stands by with a knife.
One might think this was a dig at sun-worshippers spending too long in the pool. A bikini-clad woman relaxing at the side of the swimming pool may have been immersed so long her extended leg shriveled up and floated away—another moving animation from Levitan.
No one knows how to troll quite like this Brazilian artist, and no birthday would be the same without the tongue-in-cheek, "you are old" jibe. Applied Levitan style, this looks like an animated graffiti artist spray-painting the gorilla message on a classic cream cake. Who are we to argue with tradition.
Fall leaves are beautiful, aren't they? The slender orangey ones look like delicate feathers that have gradually fallen off of a passing bird. Levitan reimagines this as a now naked bird's plumes being plucked clean off as it stands confused and embarrassed. The season will never seem the same again.
Wouldn't it be nicer to grow flowers instead of hair? A full bloom appears under this dancer or gymnast's arms as she focuses, eyes shut, on her craft. In the stillness, one of Levitan's creations casually picks a bunch for himself while he sprouts a crop from his head.
Snail racing isn't just comedic imagery, it's serious business around the world, and Levitan pits this one speedy snail against one of his creations with race numbers and everything. The moving animation sees racer number six shift up and down in the starter position. Who wins? We never find out.
Some of Levitan's most striking images in the Photo Invasion project involve architecture. This Levitan mashup features his grandma character, knitting away with yarns of red wool, which merges seamlessly with the spokes of this wooden and iron bridge in a photograph with green and hillside scenery in the background.