Finger puppets can provide hours of amusement.
But this talented artist has put his digits to even more impressive use by turning them into lifelike recreations of famous faces.
The inventive Italian, from Bologna, has produced versions of everyone from Dalai Lama to Colonel Gaddafi and Hitler.
He works under the pseudonym Dito Von Tease, in reference to the burlesque dancer Dita and because ‘il dito’ means ‘the finger’.
The ‘Ditology’ project aims to look at our sense of identity and how we use disguises – particularly when we leave a ‘digital fingerprint’ online.
It all started three years ago, when Von Tease, 33, was looking for an original avatar to use as his profile picture on Facebook.
Von Tease said he chose a finger as a disguise because he was not keen to reveal his identity.
He said: ‘In Italian someone could say I wanted to “hide myself behind my finger [trans: nascondermi dietro un dito]” – it’s a metaphor to indicate a not-very-effective hiding place.
‘I used this metaphor to say we all try to hide ourselves behind an image of us we create. That’s my finger, the changing masks everybody wears in playing life… especially famous people.’
The characters are chosen from daily news and important happenings, historical events, arts, music, television and politics.
Von Tease changes the skin colour and adds hairstyles, distinctive features and even make up.
Other recognisable faces that Von Tease has digitally altered include Kiss star Gene Simmons, to whom he added black and white facepaint, a wild hairstyle and even a pink tongue.
His Sherlock Holmes wears a green hat and smokes a pipe, while his version of Apple founder Steve Jobs sports glasses and bushy grey eyebrows.
Von Tease has even put his finger on the perfect look for fictional characters Spock from Star Trek, Disney’s Mickey Mouse and animated monster Shrek.
He has tackled all the A-Team character as well as John Travolta’s Danny Zuko in Grease.
The Ditology project also taps into the importance of the index finger in today’s digital world – where many of us use our index finger to operate touchscreens.
So if you want to examine your own ‘digital identity’, perhaps it is time to turn back to finger painting.
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