• 10.10.13

See All 43 U.S. Presidents As Surreal Woodcuts

An art project depicts all U.S. presidents as weird, wooden versions of themselves.

Hans Holbein the Younger was appointed the English King’s Painter in 1536. Eventually, he would go on to create an image of Henry VIII that would become one of the most famed portraits of any British monarch ever, in which the king’s determined posture conveys both dignity and majesty. It is a sterling example of an artist paying tribute to his country’s leader, and it has now found its bizarro world counterpoint.


There is no grandeur to be found in Rachel Ignotofsky’s series of woodcut portraits of U.S. presidents. Instead, the graphic artist uses the medium to render all 43 chief executives as creepy caricatures–and it is awesome. If not outright grotesqueries, then these images are definitely … off. For instance, Bill Clinton’s and Abraham Lincoln’s eyes are floating outside of their faces, John F. Kennedy looks like Ted Kennedy, and everybody is bloated and splotchy, with weirdly tiny or gigantic mouths.

Ignotofsky, who also designs greeting cards for Hallmark, showed the collection as part of an installation at Leedy-Voulkous Art Center in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is a resident. The series is a lot less flattering than the last presidential project Co.Create mentioned, but it is a lot funnier, so Even Stevens. Have a look through some of the woodcut portraits in the slides above and the rest here.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.