A Los Angeles-based makeup artist has got himself into hot water for transforming a white woman into a black one.
The artist, whose handle is paintdatface on Instagram, has amassed a following of 64,800 thanks to his makeup skills, but his latest post has proven extremely controversial.
The original post has now been deleted, but the artist clearly knew it could provoke a strong reaction:
“This is a transformation that I've been holding back from releasing for a while now, solely because of the fear I've had of people turning it into a racial scandal against me,” he captioned the post.
“THIS IS NOT ABOUT A RACE CHANGE. This is about one woman acknowledging, embracing, and celebrating the beauty of another woman's culture.”
But many people were not happy with his work and did not accept his reasoning.
After the barrage of criticism he received, paintdatface deleted the original post but reposted the picture with a new caption underneath, explaining rather than apologising for it.
“The transformation that I recently posted of a woman transformed into a woman of another culture has been highly criticised by those who don't understand the message,” he wrote.
“I deleted the post, not because I had regret or saw wrongdoing, but because of the negativity social media turned it into. It's been assumed by most that my intentions were to transform my model into a black woman.
“Truth is, my intentions were to keep the look vague enough to be relatable to many women of different cultures, but the true inspiration of the overall look came from my Cuban heritage.
“Although I am saddened by how many people are angered, I can't offer an apology for my artwork and for what I find to be beautiful. The transformation came from a place of love and was not about mocking one's race, but rather about celebrating it.
“I am so proud to be illustrating a woman representing several cultures along with their achievements, beliefs and histories. Art is interpreted differently by all and sometimes it's uncomfortable, but making this world a better place starts with our mindset - thinking positive, showing love and practising unity.”
And some people agreed with him:
“I'm glad you didn't apologise,” commented one. “It's too bad that people are so sensitive and choose to see ugliness in everything. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the makeover and I believe you when you say there was no negative motive or intent in doing it. I wish you the best.”
“What you created is absolutely incredible and in no way offensive,” added another. “People are just trying to find a reason to be negative - There's no need for that. Keep up the awesome work!”
But amongst the praise came more messages of disapproval:
“There's just no excuse for this bulls*** anymore or for people defending it as ‘art,’” said one.
“Next time use a black woman to show appreciation for black women and the culture,” wrote another. “Our skin colour is not how to celebrate our culture, far from it. This is disappointing. Black models do exist.”