Earlier this month, Sideshow was delighted to report that thanks to emoji.ink, procrastination just got more fun—and LOL-worthy. Little did we know, the paint-by-emoji site would soon inspire a delightful innovation: emoji portraits. Enter rapper and artist Yung Jake, who has curated a series of celebrity portraits on Twitter, rendered sans paint, brush, or canvas. Jake favors emojis. Many, many emojis.
Yung Jake has been manipulating media for years on his Tumblr (he even raps about making GIFs and videos), but it wasn't until he hit emoji.ink that social media took notice. Word even reached Time Magazine and Wired, who both featured the artist in print and online this month. And why not? His celebrity renditions are eerily accurate: incarnations of Kim Kardashian, Jay Z, and Miley Cyrus achieve an almost-unfathomable likeness.
Were they not so skilled, these portraits might be absurd (think baby chicks as the shade on Larry David’s face); but in this case, the bizarre alchemy works. And maybe the question is not so much how—impressive as Jake’s technique may be—but rather why? Despite a throng of loyal internet followers, Yung Jake has stayed relatively silent about his motives. But he has revealed his favorite piece: "The one of Young Thug speaks to me," Jake explained to Crave. "Also I like Young Thug."