Swedish artist uses painting as driver’s licence photo

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Daily Buzz

Some driver's licence pictures are so horrendous they look like outtakes from a Hieronymous Bosch painting.

Fredrik Saker made sure that didn't happen to him. The proactive artist from Sweden decided to circumvent several years' worth of Bosch-like comparisons by painting his own driver's licence portrait and submitting it to the Swedish Transport Agency.

His painting was so lifelike, authorities didn't think twice before accepting it and stamping it on a new card.

Not that he didn't muss himself up first for a little photorealism.

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"I did the exact opposite. My hair is messy and I haven't shaved in several days. Under my left eye, there is a redness," he told the Toronto Star.

"To make it more real, I made myself look bad. I kind of regret it now."

The 29-year-old spent approximately 100 hours crafting the image. He called it "This is not me," inspired by Rene Magritte's 1928 masterwork, "The Treachery of Images (This is not a pipe)."

In order to comply with Swedish law, which allows citizens to send in their own licence photographs, Saker took a snapshot his self-portrait first used that image for submission.

It was quickly accepted after city workers compared the image with Saker's previous licences, because honestly, who would have suspected someone of painting their own entirely realistic driver's licence portrait before this story broke?

Now that he's reeling in accolades and attention, Saker is also hoping to promote his artistic message of causing people to question what they see in order to determine, in the sage words of Stephen Colbert, its "truthiness."

Saker's licence activities may be the most artistically impressive, but it's hardly the first time someone has made headlines for their photo.

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Last March, Adam Bard's licence netted the B.C. computer programmer several days of virtual fame when his licence photo — wherein he shaved opposite sides of his head and beard — went viral.

And check out the random collection of ID card weirdness aggregated by the search engine masters on The Chive.

A quick peek down the list will make your own driver's licence seem like a glamour shot in comparison.