Russian Artist Pepelangelo Turns Pepe The Frog Into Masterpiece Paintings

“Welcome to Pepelangelo – an exclusive place for the oil paintings of Pepe the Frog in the entire world! I am Olga Vishnevsky and I am the artist behind these Pepe paintings.”

Pepe the Frog is a popular Internet meme. A green anthropomorphic frog with a humanoid body, Pepe originated in a comic by Matt Furie called Boy’s Club. It became an Internet meme when its popularity steadily grew across Myspace, Gaia Online and 4chan in 2008. By 2015, it had become one of the most popular memes used on 4chan and Tumblr.

By 2016, the character’s image had been appropriated as a symbol of the controversial alt-right movement. The Anti-Defamation League added certain incarnations of Pepe the Frog to their database of hate symbols in 2016, adding that not all Pepe memes are racist. Since then, Pepe’s creator has publicly expressed his dismay at Pepe being used as a hate symbol.

The Anti-Defamation League, an American organization opposed to antisemitism, included Pepe in its hate symbol database but noted that most instances of Pepe were not used in a hate-related context. In January 2017, in a response to “pundits” calling on Theresa May to disrupt Trump’s relationship with Russia, the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom tweeted an image of Pepe. White supremacist Richard B. Spencer, during a street interview after Trump’s inauguration, was preparing to explain the meaning of a Pepe pin on his jacket when he was punched in the face, with the resulting video itself becoming the source of many memes.

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