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Posted at 01:25 PM ET, 10/25/2011

On Picasso’s 130th birthday, the Picasso of Picasso cliches

One hundred and thirty years ago today, Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain. And for nearly as many years since, the world has endured a cliche that compares other artists to his genius: “The Picasso of ___.” There’s a Picasso of seemingly everything these days, from mixed martial arts to hummus. So today, on Picasso’s birthday, it’s time to celebrate some lesser-known Picassos:
The Picasso of Picasso cell-phone photography. (CARLOS BARRIA - REUTERS)

The Picasso of pumpkin carving: Ray Villafane, 42, who has also been dubbed “the aristocracy of pumpkin carving.” Villafane sculpts pumpkins into highly realistic faces; one of his creations bears the likeness of French actor Gérard Depardieu.

The Picasso of hummus (self-declared): Elran Shefler , owner of a Jerusalem hummus restaurant, who also contributed to a mural in the Jerusalem open market.

The Picasso of con-artists: Joyti De-Laurey, a London woman who stole a £4.4 million fortune through forged checks and money transfers. Her employer, who was one of her victims, gave her the Picasso honors, noting begrudgingly, “She was brilliant.”

The Picasso of primates: Towan the orangutan, who paints at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. You can watch the master at work here on YouTube.

The Picasso of loneliness: Liz Lemon, Tina Fey’s character on “30 Rock.” Jack Don­aghy, played by Alec Baldwin, bestows the honor upon Lemon when she reveals to him that she plans to watch a Lifetime original movie called “My Stepson is My Cyberhusband” on Valentine’s Day.

The Picasso of guns: Lisa Tomlin, who engraves firearms for such notables as George H.W. Bush and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Tomlin hand-engraves five guns a year with a hammer and chisel.

The Picasso of the knife world: R.W. “Bob” Loveless, who sold knives to Abercrombie and Fitch when it was still a hunting company. His designs became collectibles, and fans had to wait up to five years to purchase one.

The Picasso of proctology: Dr. Boris Sachakov, who was sarcastically given the title when he was charged with $3.5 million in Medicare fraud for claiming to have performed 6,593 hemorrhoidectomies and other procedures in a year long period. According to Gothamist, the next busiest proctology clinic in the country during that time billed Medicare for a mere 381 procedures.

The Picasso of prophylactics (a.k.a “The Rembrandt of rubbers”): You can decide! If you vote in this NSFW contest from One Condoms by Nov. 30, you can choose the Picasso of condom-wrapper art.

The Picasso of petunias: Supertunia Pretty Much Picasso, a variety of petunia that is the “first of its kind, with bright pink blooms edged in a lime green accent.” Petunia-lovers went crazy for the flower last year, when it was named the “2010 outrageous annual.”

The Picasso of mixed martial arts (self-declared): Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard, who said to MMA Weekly, “I look at myself like a Picasso of striking. You have good strikers like you have the average artist that’s decent, that can paint some beautiful things, and then you got guys like da Vinci and Picasso and these guys take it to the next level, that’s the way I feel about my striking.”

By  |  01:25 PM ET, 10/25/2011

 
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