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Mentor artist upcycles old comic books into character and celebrity portraits

Torn and tattered comic books are repurposed into captivating portraits of superheroes and movie icons.

MENTOR, Ohio — Perris Mackey, or in the art world “P Tha Nerd”, has always had a fascination with superheroes and comic books since he was a young boy.

"I've always been an avid comic book collector, I've just been a superhero nerd in general,” said P.

What was once a simple childhood fascination became so much more when P decided it was time to make a career change.

“I don't think I really found my calling for art, you know, until later in life,” he shared.

Back in 2012, P became captivated by the world of street art. After watching a documentary on some of the world’s most notorious artist - like Banksy, Invader, Mr. Brainwash – P thought he would give it a shot. He began creating life-size cardboard cutouts of cartoon characters and placing them around Cleveland.

Credit: Perris Mackey
After watching a documentary on some of the world’s most notorious artists - like Banksy, Invader, Mr. Brainwash, P thought he would give it a shot. He began creating life-size cardboard cutouts of cartoon characters and placing them around Cleveland.

After a few years of dabbling in street art, it eventually led P to his next big idea.

“I take damaged comic books and pretty much upcycle them into my favorite, fictional and non-fictional characters. Once I started using comic books as my medium, you know, kind of just opened up different possibilities of how I could create my art,” P says.

His detailed collages bring childhood icons like Superman, Batman, and other characters and celebrities to life.

“Some of my pieces may include, the flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, Nipsey Hussle, Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, Poison Ivy. The list goes on,” P said.

Credit: P Tha Nerd
P Tha Nerd created this portrait of Prince, out of upcycled comic books

“Always think it’s pretty cool, when you can take something and kind of make it your own and present it to the world as something fresh and never before seen,” P says.

An example of why it is never too late to start your passion and do what you love.

Credit: P Tha Nerd
A portrait of Superman created by artist P Tha Nerd (Perris Mackey)

“I just feel like if you genuinely love something man or enjoy doing what you do, then you should do it. Just never give up on your dreams."

P’s art is available on immortalnerd.com, through his Etsy (immortalnerd), or at Stella’s Art Gallery in Willoughby.

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