Pope Francis and Miley Cyrus have little in common. One is a spiritual leader who displays awe-inspiring compassion and the other is a hyper-sexualized pop singer who loves to display her tongue.
Each carry the weight of celebrity and thus share space in a growing gallery of portraits by New York artist Jeremy Martin, whose medium of choice happens to be an iPad.
The 27-year-old Detroit native has only had an iPad since April, but already has created 102 celebrity portraits using a stylus and the free app Drawing Desk. Martin does one or two digital paintings each day, pulling up reference photos on a desktop computer and then sitting back to paint on his second-generation iPad Air.
“Celebrities live the life I want to live and I aspire to be like them,” Martin, who works in merchandising, told Cult of Mac. “My portraits span over many areas of pop culture. They inspire me and I can evoke a feeling in other fans like myself around the world.”
Martin is not exaggerating about the global reach. He posts each likeness on Instagram, where he has grown a large following, in part because some of the celebrities re-gram the portraits.
Not long after completing and posting a portrait of the supermodel Iman, her people contacted him about getting a copy. For her 60th birthday, Martin was one of five artists asked to create Iman-inspired art.
Each portrait is done in under two hours. Apple founder Steve Jobs is among Martin’s subjects, along with Grace Jones, Alexander McQueen, Michelle Obama and Drake.
“What I like best about the iPad is it’s digital. There’s no clean up of brushes or paints lying around,” Martin said. “If you make a mistake, you just swipe left and it takes it out. Plus it’s easier to share. I can email it, put it on Instagram . . . it’s all in the iPad.”
Martin is intrigued by the new iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil because of how the new screen reaction to the sensitivity of pressure but hesitates in trading up. The new iPad is bigger and could be less comfortable to hold. He hopes future iPads are smaller with the same kind of screen.
You can buy one of Martin’s celebrity portraits on Etsy for $40. He is hoping to publish a book of his famous faces soon.