This is an English translation of information in Japanese on December 11, 2020.
In May of 2019, Kao began working with the contemporary sculptor Kazu Hiro in a joint research project to sculpt and cast two ultra-realistic portraits of Audrey Hepburn at double her real-life size. Through the process, Kazu Hiro and Kao used artistic and scientific methods to explore the elements that make a human face radiant and unique.
This series focuses on the process Kazu Hiro used to create his lifelike portraits. This fourth report describes how he prepared the hair for his sculptures and implanted it.
Once Audrey's skin was painted, Kazu implanted the hair on her scalp, her eyebrows and eyelashes, and the peach fuzz on her face. As the volume of the sculpture was 8 times bigger than life size, real human hair would have been too fine.
Kazu's solution was to take real human hair and make it thicker using a chemical formula and process developed by Kao. The resulting hair had qualities similar to Audrey's hair –fine, straight, lustrous, smooth, and brunette, but properly scaled for the portrait sculpture. For the older Audrey, he added white hair.
A typical human scalp is covered with more than a hundred thousand hairs. Kazu had to implant the human hair with a needle, one by one. To recreate the hair whorl, each hair had to be placed at a carefully controlled angle. Kazu took weeks to finish, working from morning till night with concentration and patience. The space between each hair had to be exact. If any one hair was too close to another, an observer would sense something unnatural.
Thicker hairs with tapered ends were used for the eyelashes and eyebrows. Kazu used dark-colored hair for the young Audrey and light-colored hair for the older Audrey. As a finishing touch, peach fuzz was carefully added over the facial surfaces, mainly around the jaw and chin. Though almost invisible, the peach fuzz provided a natural highlight by catching the light, which helped to make the sculpture more real.
* This is not a realistic rendering of the subject but the artist's interpretation.
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