There are makeup artists who recreate famous paintings like Starry Night on their eyelids and even nail artists painting Monet’s best artwork on their fingernails. It’s true that there are people who dye their hair certain colors after being inspired by a work of art, but what about recreating the actual painting itself on the hair?
Kansas-based hair colorist Ursula Goff creates hair extensions and turns them into some of the world’s most famous paintings. From Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn Monroe” to Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” her works are pretty identical to the actual paintings.
“I thought of [creating these looks] while I was washing a client’s hair,” Goff tells Allure. “We had pulled her color palette from Starry Night, and I started wondering while I looked at the colors in the shampoo bowl, how hard it would be to do the actual painting on hair. And since I have painted for much of my life, the concept appealed to me as an excuse to do more artwork.”
Goff received a lot of attention for her fine art series just last year and instead of painting precise replicas of the popular artworks, she was inspired by the color palettes to dye clients’ hairs in similar hades, like the greens and blues from Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, for example.
Soon, she began painting hair extensions to look like the painting once placed on the scalp. She started off the series by using Starry Night.
“For [the art] to lay properly on someone’s natural hair, I’d have to basically paint the hair in its natural vertical position, which is not comfortable for me or the client,” she explains. “They wouldn’t really ever be able move the entire time I worked on it.” As a plus, since she uses hair extensions rather than someone’s actual hair, it lasts much longer because they aren’t washed as much as regular hair. “The [hair paintings] are too time consuming,” she adds. “And I am too attached to them to just let them go down the drain in a very literal sense!”
Not to mention that everything is done free-handedly. However, she does trace the painting on a piece of paper and lays it under the hair as a guide. As time-consuming as these look, they actually do take some time to create. Goff mentions how Starry Night took her nearly 10 hours to complete and by far the toughest painting to recreate. The color scheme can be a struggle to do as well.
“The light tones just meant I had to plan out the colors of the dyes really well because it can be tough to ‘undo’ hair color if it’s too dark, especially in very specific sizes and shapes like that particular painting has,” she says.
Other paintings such as “The Scream” and Kandinsky’s “Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles” take a few hours to fully complete.
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Client bucket list: Marilyn Diptych. She approached me and said, "I know you always do your hair paintings on long hair, but do you think you could work out a way to do one on my short hair?" Having a background in screen printing actually helped me plot this out. I applied the colors in each individual block first and then did the black detailing last on top of them, which is likely the process Warhol used when screenprinting all his Marilyns. #behindthechair #btconeshot_unconventionalcolor17 #marilyn #warhol #popart #poparthair #paintingsonhair
Goff has also painted dye directly onto buzz cuts to look like leopard prints and even Marilyn Monroe.
You can see more from Ursula Goff on her Instagram.