This artist recreates old photos and turns them into Play-Doh works


Reading time 3 minutes

Play-Doh entered our homes during the 90s in the form of hamburgers, hairdressers, ice cream parlors, etc., never to leave. Those masses of colored phosphors cheered our childhoods and the floors of half-world homes, unfortunately for many mothers and fathers as well.

Nostalgics will enjoy knowing that there is an Instagram account, that of Eleanor Macnair, that recreates old and famous photographs such as Frida Kahlo by Nikolas Murays with Play-Doh.

His relationship with art began at 21 when he moved from London to New York and went to a gallery for the first time. “I used to think that art was not for me until I found an entry point. So I hope that my project is an entry point for other people, ”he tells

It was in a photo contest in 2013 at MacDonaldStrand in Brighton, England, where he had to redo a photograph and that was where the inspiration came from. “I never had Play-Doh as a child, but I played with plasticine, which is drier and stiffer, and the colors are not as vibrant. Around the world, people know the smell and texture of Play-Doh, it 's easier to connect with it ”, that's why they chose it.

Recreación de Michael y Sandy Marsh fotografiados en Amarillo, Texas, por Stephen Shore (1974).

Recreation of Michael and Sandy Marsh photographed in Amarillo, Texas, by Stephen Shore (1974). © Eleanor Macnair.

“It is a cheaper, accessible and democratic material. The colors are also coarse and there is no subtlety… I like the challenge of trying to create something attractive using this material, ”adds Eleanor.

What interests him most is to know if, by the mere fact of being made with Play-Doh (a game product for children), people will give him the label of good or bad art.

While his first photograph was that of Man Ray by Helen Tamiris in 1920, because Eleanor likes to recreate old images that are still attractive and relevant.

That experiment led him to find the other side of the world other artists and photographers, such as that of the American Sally Mann, artist Hellen van Meene, Bill Bernstein and his studio 54 portraits … all of them collected on his Tumblr and Instagram where it already exceeds 35 thousand followers.

A shared post by Eleanor Macnair (@eleanormacnair) on Jun 1, 2018 at 7:10 p.m. PDT

Its main objective is that we end up observing his work, not seeing it because it says in the era of social networks, we do not stop to observe things, but rather leaf through them quickly.

“The same thing happens as with the texts. We get used to reading subtitles on social networks, reading the news online. We are losing patience to stop, enjoy watching and thinking . Our minds need to be constantly stimulated and occupied. I want to get people to slow down and really look; because otherwise, we will lose so much, ”tells Eleanor.

So you have to stop in each of your new publications not only to appreciate the work in each work, but to know where the inspiration comes from. Each of them is subtitled with the name of the author and the photograph that inspired it.

A shared publication of Eleanor Macnair (@eleanormacnair) on May 10, 2016 at 6:43 p.m. PDT

And from this apparent Play-Doh game, he has exhibited a part of his work in the National Portrait Gallery in London but this time only in portraits. Now he is doing it in Germany at Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs with the exhibition 'Sofas, birds and knees'.

And what do the artists and photographers of their remakes say? “The answer I have is that they like them. In addition, my works are destined to be a tribute and to guide people to look and discover the original photograph ”.

A shared publication of Eleanor Macnair (@eleanormacnair) on Jan 15, 2018 at 7:33 PST
A shared publication of Eleanor Macnair (@eleanormacnair) on Mar 4, 2018 at 10:24 PST
A shared publication of Eleanor Macnair (@eleanormacnair) on Feb 14, 2018 at 5:09 PST
A shared publication of Eleanor Macnair (@eleanormacnair) on Jan 22, 2018 at 6:47 PST