Thursday Salute to Originals: Tin Can Historical Self-Portraits

What do you do with an old soup can? Probably toss it in the recycling can and never think about it again, right? We’ll there’s one artist who has alternate plans for those used tin cans – high end art!

Allan Rubin is the extremely talented artist behind the CANON collection, which is much more than just your average portrait series. Rubin’s studio was brimming with large scale sculptures, and switching scale to small tin cans seemed like a sensible shift. The collection features forty eight sculptures of well-known artists, of which twenty were women. Each piece is made from tin cans and paint.

Allan Rubin’s portraits are inspired by the original artist’s self-portraits. The CANON collection features historical artists such as Frida & Diego, Picasso, and Claude Monet. Each sculpture is a three-dimensional replica of the original historical painting. This requires a great amount of attention to detail on behalf of the artist. After producing numerous works, Rubin has discovered the best type of tin can that he can use to transform into a recognizable feature of the human body. “Bean cans are just right for arms and necks. Sardine cans make great hands. Lids have rings embossed on them that work perfectly for ears, and also become noses that I have learned to bend, slot, and tab onto the faces”, he told Hyperallergic.

He started this collection in 2016 and completed CANON in 2018. Rubin continues to portray the whimsical transformation from two to three dimensions, all while using a medium that is often considered to be disposable.

So this Thursday, we’re saluting Allan Rubin for his unique take on portraits. Maybe it will inspire you to do take another glance at your recycle bin and innovate!

Sources: Allan Rubin, This is Colossal, Hyperallergic, Arts and Culture TV