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But it wasn’t the shooting guard’s incredible play that inspired Filip Peraic to make Harden the subject of a series of portraits entitled “James Harden Illustrated,” all featuring the Houston Rockets star’s profile and famous beard.

“I did not pick him based on his game. I just wanted to find someone aesthetically interesting,” the Croatia-based artist told CNN.

Harden is certainly that, one of the more recognizable NBA stars thanks to oversized facial hair. “He has this really nice and unique profile with his beard,” Peraic said.

“He already knew about my project because some reporters asked him,” Peraic said. But while Peraic has yet to meet Harden, a Twitter shout out was the next best thing. “This was the first time that he directly spoke to me,” said Peraic. “And it’s a great feeling and I’m glad he did.

“That profile is sort of like a frame throughout which I express myself.”

The renditions are wide ranging. One moment, Harden is the bust of a Greek philosopher. The next, Peraic has turned the profile into a map, charting “The Isle of Hardenia.”
They also range into the more abstract, whether it’s arranging Harden as flowers or reimagining his beard as a whale.
Peraic is also on top of popular culture — his most recent rendition was a Harden-like black hole after the first image of a black hole was rendered.

But all the time spent drawing and designing doesn’t mean Peraic hasn’t taken notice of Harden’s impressive run.

“I’m a fan of his game and he’s basically changing the game as we know it with his style of play,” Peraic said.

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Harden's beard has proven a source of fascination to Croatia-based artist Filip Peraic.
Harden is the focal point of the Houston offense, and at one point this season, he even went six straight games without a single basket coming on assist from a teammate, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Rockets’ game plan has made for regular-season success, but it has yet to translate to an NBA Final berth with Harden on the squad.

However, Houston will certainly rely on its star, who helped last year’s team come to within a game of the NBA Finals. And while Harden may have spent a few days retweeting Peraic’s images, the Rockets’ guard likely will have more pressing things on his mind during this postseason, namely, an NBA championship.

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Here, Harden's profile appears as a Greek philosopher.
Peraic likely won’t mind the fun being over. He can recognize Harden’s dedication to craft. This season, the Rockets’ star said: “Every single year you’ve got to find ways to get better and come back with something different, something new.”

That’s a hard-working sentiment that resonates with Peraic. “This project is like a creative challenge for me,” he said. “It sounds really fun drawing James Harden over and over again. But I’m quite serious about it.”



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