When 23 year old Greek creative, Gregory Masouras, bought a new smart phone and then took a walk around his Athenian neighborhood to test out its camera features, he had absolutely no idea it was going to be the instrument through which he'd find international recognition. And yet, it appears that good things do come in small packages. Because now, two and a half years later, the simply brilliant idea of substituting the face of a "real life" person in a photo for the face of a favorite animated character has in turn, led to the creation of #AnimationInReality, Gregory's runaway success of an instagram project.
Currently boasting 117K followers, it seems that people from all over the world are eager to see Mulan replace Kendall Jenner on the cover of Vogue magazine; imagine what it would look like if Kanye West and Princess Jasmine were married to each other instead of to Kim Kardashian and Aladdin respectively; or, to see Marc Jacobs attend the MET Gala with Lady Tremaine instead of Bette Midler on his arm. "#AnimationInReality blends the favorite childhood celebrities with the modern adult ones," as he says.
Despite the followers, Gregory -who officially studied to become a pastry chef and is self-taught in Photoshop and photography- still labels #AnimationInReality a "personal project" on his Instagram profile. "I've come to realize the effect [the project] has and I'm really happy for the support and encouragement that I receive from important people from around the world. But to me it's still a personal project [and that] is the only thing that hasn't changed!" he says.
We asked him how much thought he puts into, firstly, deciding which real photo to use and then on deciding which Disney character is the most fitting to stand in for the real person featured in the photo. "Sometimes I’m inspired by the character or general 'aura' of the celebrity," he shares. "Sometimes by his or her style [if it's one] that matches the cartoon. And then there are also the times that I focus on humor and spontaneity!"
While many of his customized photos receive a lot of applause, sometimes a particular one stands out over the rest. He shares with us how he was rewarded for deciding to turn supermodel, Irina Shayk, into Snow White for the cover of the W Magazine October, 2016 cover. Gregory happened to know somebody who knew Irina and before uploading it onto his account, his contact sent it to her. "She loved it and asked to post it herself before I released it," Gregory is thrilled to note. "You can guess what my answer was!"
When we asked if he was trying to make a specific statement with #AnimationInReality, Gregory refreshingly surprised us, as instead of giving a great, cultural reason hidden behind the animated smiles, he confided that the reason he does what he does is: "Because it makes me and my followers happy. Every time I finish a project it feels good!" He also added that he loves surprising and providing people with a "total contrast of settings and ideas."
What's next for him and his pet project? He says that he has four new projects that he's working on which are completely different from anything we've seen from him so far. "Hopefully, people will like them as much as they've liked all my posts," he says. We think that we'll all be staying tuned to check them out!