Kuhl & Leyton reviewed on the Huffinton Post: "Portraits Of Disgraced Billionaires Reveal The Shady Side Of White Collar Crimes March 15 2014
Martha Stewart, Bernie Madoff, Jack Abramoff... what do all these names have in common? They're disgraced billionaires, of course. They've all dabbled in some sort of criminal activity, whether they partook in insider trading or operated an elaborate Ponzi scheme, the wealthy icons fell as hard as they gambled. And now two artists -- Brad Kuhl and Monique Leyton -- are paying tribute to their, erm, flair for finance, in a series titled "Elite Deviance."
The series transforms the faces of Stewart et al into intricate portraits made from a rather unlikely medium -- colored tape. Pieced together and collaged ever so carefully, the resulting images reveal the sly behavior of the world's baddest billionaires.
Kuhl and Leyton's explain on their website:
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, in 2008 fraud accounted for $994 billion in corporate losses. Greater than dollars are the livelihoods of affected victims. In Dante’s "Inferno," the seventh circle is Violence and the eighth circle is Fraud.
"White-collar crime [begs] questions about unlawful acts without a weapon," the artists elaborated in an email exchange with The Huffington Post. "What’s the difference between taking a life and taking livelihood?"
So how did they choose their disgraced subjects? "With issues of the ‘one percent’ and the financial collapse in mind, we focused on the past decade," Kuhl and Leyton stated. "We pulled from Washington, television, celebrity, corporate collapse, private investor... and the bizarre."
The project took the form of unusual tape portraits because "tape shares an immediacy and ephemerality with the stories we investigate," the artists wrote. "The candy-like palette makes themes inviting that might otherwise be difficult to approach."