Joel Strong is the New York-based artist behind the Instagram account, My Day With Leo.
What started out as a nod to actor Leonardo DiCaprio quickly turned into a full-time job for the content creator, who meticulously cuts out pictures of celebrity heads and places them on everyday people.
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“Back in the 1990s, Leonardo DiCaprio was everywhere,” Strong said.
“I had an idea to put 90s Leo in modern New York and on Instagram. So I started taking cutouts from magazines and taking them around the city and taking pictures of them. From there, I started to do other things and other celebrities.
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“I think the first non-Leo was Beyonce. Then I did Madonna and Jay-Z and a few other people.”
“With the still photographs, a lot of the time I like to place those on strangers without even talking for them – so I’ll usually post up on a corner of a street or museum and wait for somebody’s body to align with the head that I have and take the photo.
“With the videos, I have to hire a model or a dancer or someone who can do the moves, and usually my shoots can last from one to four hours. And they have to move really slowly while I keep the heads aligned.”
Collaborating with Ryan Reynolds
Now, Joel’s work is getting the attention of big-name brands like Nike and Netflix – and even Hollywood A-lister Ryan Reynolds got in on the action, collaborating with the artist on a piece.
“That was a bit of a surprise,” Strong said.
“I woke up one morning and saw the DM from Ryan Reynolds, and I didn’t want to open it because I didn’t want him to see that I had seen it.
“He responded to a story I had done the previous day, where I was taking some Ryan Reynolds cut-outs around the city and trying to figure out what situation I should put him in.
“And Ryan said that if he could chase his dreams, he would like to pursue the exciting medium of ribbon dancing, and it snowballed from there.”
New full-time job
Joel’s photos and videos have become so popular, he is now able to make a living off of his creativity.
“I started taking these images about six years ago, and I started making the moving videos about five years ago,” Strong said.
“When I started doing that, brands started reaching out a lot more. I’ve worked with HP, Nike, and Netflix, and done some really exciting projects.
“I have learned over the years that I need to do other things besides creating, or I burn out. So I do a couple of other things throughout the week, just to get me out of a creative zone.”