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All at sea: not this artist, for whom it’s hair today, art ...

Lifestyle

All at sea: not this artist, for whom it’s hair today, art tomorrow

Jesstoni Garcia, who spends much time cruising the oceans without art supplies, uses his hair to create portraits

Adrian Portugal
Jesstoni Garcia works on a portrait of Rihanna.
NOVEL Jesstoni Garcia works on a portrait of Rihanna.
Image: Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

Every few months when Jesstoni Garcia takes electric clippers to his head, he’s not just giving himself a haircut, he’s also harvesting art materials.

Using a thin brush and clear, sticky resin, the co-owner of a Manila hair salon sprinkles these collected strands and clippings on a blank white canvas, taking two to five hours to arrange them into striking images of musicians and actors.

Artist and seafarer Jesstoni Garcia shaves his hair to create a portrait.
Artist and seafarer Jesstoni Garcia shaves his hair to create a portrait.
Image: Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

The 32-year-old’s main job as a seaman involves spending up to eight months a year on cruise ships and, lacking adequate art supplies like paint and sketch pads at sea, Garcia in 2021 turned to using his own hair to create images. He started with self-portraits and eventually moved on to depicting celebrities.

Away at sea much of the time, rather than in his salon, he uses only his hair, sometimes shaving his sideburns when he needs extra material.

Garcia said making this art helps ease his stress as long voyages take a toll on his physical and mental health.

“We need to have an outlet to deal with depression. For me, my outlet was making art,” he said, adding that he eventually wants to sell his work.

— Reuters

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