After putting out a global call for Vincent van Gogh lookalikes to aid in a commissioned piece earlier this year, Vancouver-based artist and admittedly unpredictable author Douglas Coupland has found a dead-ringer.
Beating out 1,250 entries from 37 countries, Daniel Baker from Christchurch, England, proved he possessed the most striking resemblance to the late Dutch painter. Not only did the Englishman win the majority of over 500,000 online votes, but a trained medical professional also approved of the win.
“There is a science behind why people ‘look like themselves’, and the final Vincent had to have proper biometric data to match the artist,” Coupland writes on iamvincent.com, where selfies of bearded ginger men had accumulated for public scrutiny over the past five months. “Daniel did.”
For his uncanny likeness, Baker scored €5,000 and a trip to Vancouver where he met Coupland and underwent a 3D-photogrammetry scanning process which uses hundreds of cameras to record facial features in detail.
“Meeting Dan was a very strange experience because I’d spent months looking at Vincent lookalikes on a computer screen,” the artist says in a media statement, “and then suddenly there was this man—my Vincent van Gogh—hopping out of a taxi looking like he’d just stepped out of the year 1889.”
Coupland is expected to employ the data when he begins sculpting a two-by-three-metre bronze bust of van Gogh for Martin’s Lane Winery in Kelowna. The piece, titled “Vincent”, is commissioned by the winery’s owner, Anthony von Mandl.
If you’re wondering why a winery would want to have a giant, facially accurate sculpture of van Gogh’s mug onsite, the state—or “human mutation”—of redheadedness is apparently not unlike that of pinot noir. (Gingers make up two percent of the world’s population, while pinot noir represents the same percentage of wine grapes harvested internationally.)
Ah, the things you can do with a little money and imagination.
The completed “Vincent” bust will be unveiled on April 22, 2017 at a pre-conference getaway event for attendees of the TED Conference in Vancouver.