Have you ever doubted the integrity of your favorite character and felt like they are hiding something? The Wisconsin-based artist Alex Solis, also known as "alexmdc" and "oddworx," is continuing to reveal the secret identities of famous pop culture characters in his oddly fascinating series of illustrations called "Icons Unmasked." He removes the mask of Deadpool, Patrick Star, Rick and Morty, Yoda, even politicians, and many more to uncover who's actually behind those familiar faces, and the result might ruin your childhood.

We've previously shared his creative artwork here and here on Bored Panda, and it's about time to expose more characters! What undercover character surprised or shocked you the most and which ones make sense to you? Let us know in the comments!

More info: Instagram | twitter.com | Facebook | oddworx.com | alexmdc.tumblr.com

Gordon Ramsay takes off his mask to reveal Remi from Ratatouille hiding underneath, Mr. Burns hides behind Donald Trump's mask, Rick and Morty reveal they are actually Marty McFly and Doc Brown from the 1985 classic Back to the Future, Gollum is an undercover Dobby, and Scooby-Doo is the secret identity of a timid Courage—the characters and personalities Solis pairs weirdly make sense. The selected characters are not coincidental; you will notice how similar some of them are because the artist questions if anything is 100% original in pop culture.

“Ever wonder if the characters you see on TV, in movies and in comic books are hiding something behind their masks? That perhaps they’re really someone — or something — else?" Alex Solis told Bored Panda about how this project originated. "When pop culture is such a huge part of our lives, we’re bombarded with these characters everywhere we turn. Each time we see a new character in a movie, video game or commercial, we feel a sudden sense of deja vu. There’s something about their goofy grin, that creepy laugh, or those boogly eyes that feels eerily familiar…

This got me thinking. Is anything we see ever 100% original? Or is everything we experience really just our minds piecing together past experiences to create something that feels unique and new?"

"In Icons Unmasked, I’m trying to bring a new sense of discovery to characters everyone has seen hundreds of times. I wanted to recreate the experience of what it might be like to see one iconic character from your childhood for the first time as an adult,” Solis continued.

Solis started this series in 2015 with the intention of making a few illustrations but quickly realized it could go forever. Having done close to 200 characters to date, Solis walked us through this creative process.

"Having done so many now, I just wait for characters to cross my path, and lots of times I see the resemblance from other characters. It's easier now for me to quickly come up with the mash-ups and concepts of the characters since I have this ongoing series and I keep the concept in mind. Coming up with the right unmasking takes a bit longer than executing the illustration, but mainly because it needs to make sense. Once I have two characters in mind, I do a bit of research of the debut of the characters, etc., and read up a bit on them. While doing this, sometimes the characters can change to a different character that fits best, so def a lot of pop culture research, but I truly enjoy learning and looking up the different characters that have such big impacts in our lives."

We asked Solis where he finds the motivation to create: "Art has always been a part of my life. It's almost addicting to be able to evoke a feeling with art, brighten and bring a smile to someone with art. I see myself doing art forever."

We asked what's the most challenging and the most rewarding part of creating "Icons Unmasked":

"The most challenging is to keep the series fresh since it started so long ago. So a lot of the unmaskings can be very obvious and/or some focus a bit on the humor side. With this series, I'm also able to bring real icons, political pieces, etc. It's truly rewarding when I see the reaction of people, and seeing a concept that feels very straightforward and easy to understand."

When it comes to reactions online, Solis said they can be mixed: "Lots of different reactions depending on what the subject is focused on, there have been some political pieces that get people stirred up a bit, and some nostalgic pieces that tie in new generations. For me, this series is just a reflection of the culture that influences our daily lives and a way to have fun with it."

We also asked about Solis' favorite illustration from the series so far:

"My favorite one is Ronald unmasked as the Joker, and again because it's not only showing the characters unmasked, but it also pushes a narrative and almost creates a new story for the characters. Just looking at it without having any context behind it, I feel like it opens up a way for the viewer to quickly create an alternate version of the characters and those nostalgic feelings you get from the characters you grew up with and know their story from start to finish."

Solis is also turning his artwork into tangible pieces fans can buy: "I get so so many requests for products with this series, and I do try to make some limited pieces with them, but with Parody products, I try to only focus on the fun aspect of those more, since the main goal is not to generate money with them, but here and there some very limited products might pop up and I do have a ton of original characters or products with my art as well on my online shop."

See Also on Bored Panda

Solis shared some exciting plans in the making, so stay tuned for more!

"I've been working for a few years on a studio/gallery that I'm hoping to open in the near future, to showcase life-sized designer figures, and hopefully have some of the more iconic pieces from this series debut there as well! Plus lots of other exciting projects in the works, I usually post first on my Instagram."

Alex Solis is full of creative and odd ideas, so you might want to check other posts about his work on Bored Panda. In "Unpopular Culture," he looks deeper into the behind-the-scenes of pop culture characters, adding a disturbing twist to them; in "The Freshest Foods," he explored the parallel universe where fruits and vegetables are brought to life; "Famous Oldies" shows well-known characters and superheroes aging like everyone else; and in "Baby Terrors," he imagined horror characters as cute little babies. He has also created disturbing yet adorable illustrations of "Predators vs. Prey" and played with sign language.



alexmdc Report

Note: this post originally had 75 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.