Thug 4 Life? Tom Sanford

Have you ever wondered if you could transform your slightly overweight, very near-sighted, and extremely white self into Tupac Shakur? No, neither did we, but Brooklyn-based artist Tom Sanford (fellow Columbia University alum) is asking that question as well as documenting the answer his new blog, Thug4Life. The last we heard, Tom was in the Columbia alumni newsletter - word had it he was creating "rap star pietas." That is, paintings of rap stars in the guise of Jesus Christ on the cross. Yeah. Not surprisingly, the work sold very well in Japan, where Tom seems to enjoy a cult following.

Tom's journey into into Tupac-dom began on August 11th, and based on the blog, it looks like he's making some progress. Of course, progress is relative - after four weeks of physical training and a head shaving Tom looks sort of like a thin white kid with a shaved head. Maybe the THUGLIFE tattoo he plans to have installed on his belly will tip the scale. Tom's attempt to become Tupac raises some interesting questions, including the degree to which a project like this is racist or insensitive, and exactly how bad an idea it is to get a large tattoo on your stomach without making a lifelong committment to strong abs. You can decide for yourself: Tom's transformation will be complete by the time "BLING", his next show, opens at 31 Grand Gallery in Williamsburg on October 11th.

Gothamist offers up two very powerful reasons why no white boys should try this at home: Vanilla Ice and Marky Mark. (And don't even mention Eminem as a case for white rappers - neither Tom nor anyone else we know from college would have lasted five minutes in 8 Mile.)