It's the gift for the person who has everything (except, possibly, good taste). Welcome to the world of Nobilified, the online service that allows you to upload a photograph and then see that picture turned into the oil painting of your choice. Mona Lisa, American Gothic, Holbein's Portrait of Henry VIII … all these and more are offered on the US company's website, and if none of those work for you, you can supply the painting of your choice to have hand-painted by Nobilified's team of 30 artists.
Even more astonishing than the fact that this exists, perhaps, is the price that Nobilified's founder, a Canadian called Chris Cornier-Jensen, 24, has fixed for the service. Outsourcing the painting to artists far afield means that a 60x80cm canvas will set you back just $220 (£140) plus $25 to ship the unframed canvas in a tube around the world.
"I started this because I wanted a painting of myself to hang in my college room," said Mr Cornier-Jensen. "When I couldn't find any student to paint me one for less than $500-$600, I took the matter into my own hands and Nobilified was born."
Among the customers Nobilified has satisfied are the pop star Bruno Mars (a present for his 29th birthday from his tour manager) and the CEOs of the Twitter-owned companies Tap Commerce and MoPub. "Sure, these guys can afford to pose to have their portraits painted," said Mr Cornier-Jensen, "but I don't think that's what they're looking for. They want something enjoyable, cool and unique. Some people might want to go to Ikea and buy the same print as everyone else, others can go to the internet and find websites like mine."
And the strangest thing he has commissioned one of his artists to paint? "I've had so many strange requests that I don't think anything's strange any more," he said. "On second thoughts, there was one guy who wanted a copy of Jacques Louis-David's Napoleon Crossing the Alps only instead of him riding a horse he asked us to do a fire-breathing unicorn with lasers coming out of its eyes. That was pretty weird."
And if someone in the UK orders one of these can we still get it in time for Christmas? "Sure," said Mr Cornier-Jensen. "They take about four to five days to paint and then a week or so to ship. So I would say you have until 25 November."
At the very least, you can be sure that you won't be buying anybody something they already own.
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