This artist transforms everyday object like sneakers — and taxidermy animal heads — with puff paint

  • ArtistPJ Linden can turn everyday objects into beautiful works of art using a type of paint that you might have used as a kid: puff paint.
  • She spends hours on her projects and her work has even been worn by Miley Cyrus.
  • She paints a variety of objects, including bags, clothes, shoes, phone cases, cameras, and even taxidermy animal heads.

Following is transcript of the video.

PJ Linden: I’m PJ Linden, I’m an artist from New York.

I am a self-taught artist. So puff paint I’ve become obsessed with because it’s just such an underrated acrylic paint.

My first piece was an old flip phone. It all started pre-smartphone era. I knew that this paint was for children and therefore non-toxic and probably wouldn’t do any damage to the technology.

It just grew from there.

I felt the need to represent for puff paint and become a full-time puff paint artist.

When I’m about to start a piece, I first start thinking about the broad strokes, or in this case the broad puffs. And really look at the shape of the object and what it wants to be, more so than what I want it to be.

So with the boar’s head I really started seeing a conical seashell.

My process is very much like layering a cake.

The paint looks exactly the same wet or dry, so there can be a lot of tragic accidents.

All of my work is full coverage.

This one took maybe 300 hours. And usually I’m building up to at least three layers, but it can get up to 10 layers. And so that’s really where the timing comes in.

My partner is a director and an editor, and she shoots all the time, and so she would get these really expensive cameras. And I remember when she first asked me to cover one of her cameras, and I was really excited, because it just is such a sacrilegious idea. This was the very first camera, it was the Sprinkle 7D. I just wanted to see what would happen if you could make a camera look like an ice cream sundae.

I have covered everything from cameras, to shoes, to bras, to deer, boars, alligator heads. I’ve even covered cigarette packs, phone cases, book bags. I’ve done a lot, a lot of clothes.

I think my favourite piece would have to be this candy bear.

One of the most surprising collaborations I’ve done was with Miley Cyrus. I did a mini line of really outrageous wearable art for her, and a pair of Neapolitan ice cream coated pasties ended up on her breasts on the cover of Plastik Magazine.

I grew up with a family of game hunters. The Sundae Stag was a piece that my great-grandfather shot, and it ended up in a basement with its nose chewed off by a family dog. And I thought how sad it was that these animals are killed, stuffed, and then they’re trophies, but at the same time, there’s millions of trophies that all look exactly the same. There’s a weird thing that I guess I feel, that their spirit should be eternalized and decorated for the after-after-afterlife.

The other art that I create is hand-painted wallpaper. It’s coming from my interior design background. It’s something that I always, always wanted to create for homes and hotels, and I hope to keep painting them for the rest of the year. That’s sort of my goal is travelling by way of painting hand-painted wallpapers. There’s definitely a kinship between the organised, rhythmic patterning of my puff-painted work and the wall paper styling.

The biggest puff paint piece that I’ve completed is an animatronic dinosaur. It’s fully functional, and it stands about three-foot tall and four-foot long. I would like to work my way up to a Smart Car. That’s sort of been my always goal.