Two controversial kisses are among his most famous works. The first between Pope Francis and President Trump, the second between FC Barcelona player Lionel Messi and his Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
TV Boy, a pseudonym used by Salvatore Benintende, is an Italian urban artist based in Barcelona who has started to gain international recognition for his portraits of famous people, transforming them using irony and sarcasm.
He has already created works on the walls of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Rome, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Beirut.
Benintende has portrayed the mayors of Barcelona, Madrid and Rome as Wonder Woman, Angela Merkel as Terminator and Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo taking a selfie together.
Other characters he has painted on the walls of various cities include Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Prince, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Kim Yong-un and Barack Obama.
Works by TV Boy are also exhibited in Barcelona’s Imaginart gallery where there are also pieces from famous street artists such as Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat and Banksy.
The artist prepares his artworks at home and later hooks them onto walls, normally wearing a cap and sunglasses to hide his identity. If caught, he faces costly penalties and has already paid a 300-euro fine.
TV Boy could ask permission but says that considering the bureaucracy he would face, he prefers to be free to put his works where he wishes, but tried to avoid historic buildings and very old or new walls.
“The street has made me known in public, offering me the opportunity to exhibit in galleries.”
If the police catch me, I accept it and I pay,” he says. “Sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”