Mike Leavitt is a visual artist based out of Seattle who says he can do anything. “I paint houses, I paint tiny little landscapes on pennies, I frame walls and decks, and I carve articulating wood statues.” Leavitt said. “I will wire a kitchen circuit, and I sculpt little figurines in clay. I repair leaky pipes, and I’ve sewn celebrities into bath towels.”
As part of his HiPop project (“pop art, but with a soul,” he says), Leavitt has created “King Cuts,” a line of statues of the “16 all-time best film directors” merged, melded and morphed into their movies. The statues were recently exhibited at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City.
Described as both satire and devotion, the statues are simultaneously beautiful, clever, intriguing and off-putting. (We’re talking about you, naked James Cameron.) Leavitt puts an immense amount of work into each one: all of the statues are either 18-inches tall or wide, sculpted out of wood and clay, and painted with acrylics.
Some are a combination of multiple movies, like Cameron, who is Avatar, Aliens, Titanic and Terminator, while others are more simple, like Hitchcock, who is only represented by The Birds. And not all of the references are obvious on first glance, like Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange eye makeup or Tarantino’s missing right ear.
If you’re interested in buying a statue of your own, you can contact the gallery here. About half of Leavitt’s original “King Cuts” wood carvings are still available, including Miyazaki, Burton, Lynch, Anderson, Scorsese and Cameron. “I’m also working on releasing mini 3D-print editions from my ‘King Cuts’ original wood carvings that have been sold: Hitchcock, Lucas, Spielberg, Lucas and Tarantino,” Leavitt tells us. “I’m releasing Hitchcock and Lucas on Halloween. Spielberg and Kubrick will follow soon after.”
You can read more about the making of each statue on Leavitt’s website. Click through the gallery above to check out “King Cuts”—the images and descriptions of each statue are courtesy of Leavitt.
1 of 16
David Lynch can't fend off the growths. The Elephant Man is winning. His vitals grasp for air with a Blue Velvet oxygen mask. He lights two cigarettes. He's Wild at Heart like that. He'll leave chance to the wind. A flip of a card decides his destiny like the Twin Peaks of fate. He pins his hopes on a one eyed Jack.
2 of 16
The Shining transgenders Kubrick. His entire identity, even his humanity is relinquished. Hal's all seeing eye welds itself to his chest. He is a female robot. He's the ancient ape predating 2001. He grips to reality with an AK-47 and jelly donut stolen from a Full Metal Jacket. Clockwork Orange costuming veils him from the world in vain. Nothing can stop Stanley from drifting off into the surreal void.
3 of 16
Kathryn Bigelow is the Oscar. She is the only female of many regards. Fortunately she's safely cacooned in a Point Break surfboard. Carrying the Zero Dark Thirty gun that killed Bin Laden might also help. She protects herself on all fronts. Even her Hurt Locker bomb suit insulates her from the masculinity surrounding her on all sides.
4 of 16
His blockbusters engulf the body of James Cameron down to his bones. His skeleton is mechanized in Terminator machinery. The Titanic weight of Winslet's 'French girls' envelops his pose. He blows her whistle for salvation. He struts her heart of the sea. Yet he's so swayed that his own gender yields to the Titanic. His is the Alien of his own doing. An Avatar fallen to Earth, Cameron is truly a bizarre do-gooder.
5 of 16
Francis Ford Coppola suffers the wounds of his Godfather. His Rumble Fish, dog tags and combat boots guard him from the Apocolypse Now. Resting in his vampire fingers, The Outsiders switchblade morphs into a Dracula razor. Shotgun shells are missing. Something is responsible for tearing him apart.
6 of 16
The Birds metamorphosize Hitchcock. He is no longer just a portly fellow with a razor sharp sense of humor. He's nothing more than a smoking crow. Poor Alfred. He tries so hard. Yet always falls into the same mysterious trap.
7 of 16
George Lucas is encapsulated by Star Wars. It's his entire world. His light saber shines the harsh light of day. Jabba the Hutt fills his skin. An American Graffiti gang tattoos his chest. If there's no way out there's no reason to suffer. He likes his world of satiation. He's obviously well fed. Don't try to take anything from the George. You might suffer at the end of an Indiana Jones whip.
8 of 16
Hayao Miyazaki is a quiet forest spirit. He serves Princess Mononoke well. His signature apron is a ghostly shroud. It protects him from getting Spirited Away by a river dragon with no face. Luckily the loyal Totoro sits atop his back. The legs of Howl's Moving Castle can only carry him so far.
9 of 16
Citizen Kane imprisons Orson Welles in a vehicle going nowhere. He is his own ticking time bomb with a slight Touch of Evil. He travels to and fro on splindly alien legs in his own tormented War of the Worlds. A snow globe and sled provide no respite, only more opportunity to encase himself in his own creations.
10 of 16
The Passion of the Christ possesses Scorsese. He martyrs himself with the guns of Goodfellas and Taxi Driver. He is the Raging Bull of curse words. Take or be taken. Scorsese is a fighter.