Many great artists have been inspired by their beloved muses throughout history. During Pablo Picasso’s surrealist period, for instance, his favorite model (and mistress) was a young Frenchwoman named Marie-Thérèse Walter. Alfred Stieglitz was likewise infatuated with Georgia O’Keeffe. Robert Mapplethorpe found an ideal subject in musician Patti Smith. And now, as reported by The Daily Dot’s Nayomi Reghay, an Imgur user has found the perfect muse for the 21st century: eternally gawky Superbad and Arrested Development star Michael Cera, specifically one particular photo of the actor in his regrettable “red woolen hat and skeevy-looking mustache” phase. The actor’s image has already proved endlessly malleable, as evidenced by the beloved “Prancing Cera” meme of 2010. But the “Imgurian” in question, whose account is modeslty titled A New Badly Photoshopped Photo Of Michael Cera Everyday, actually has an admirable agenda behind his Cera-based visual tomfoolery. It’s all about education and self-improvement.
“I had zero Photoshop skills, and I was completely jealous,” the aspiring artist humbly reports. Knowing he’d never master the myriad ways of Photoshop, let alone the delicate art of creating GIFs, without some serious practice time, he decided to undergo a public apprenticeship of sorts on Imgur. And instead of experimenting with a whole variety of photos, he decided instead to practice on the same exact picture of Michael Cera again and again each day, hopefully improving little by little with each effort. The project, deemed “absurd” by The Daily Dot, began about two months ago with a Michael Cera-ized version of the Mona Lisa.
Absurd or not, the Michael Cera project has already inspired other Imgur users, and the original Photoshopper-in-training is said to have “big plans for his future.” Whatever those plans might be, it seems safe to assume that they will include the image of an unsmiling Michael Cera sporting what could very well be the worst mustache of this still-young millennium.