Brad Warsh
Caroline Hallemann
August 05, 2015

Between Domino’s allowing customers to order with the pizza, Russia investigating whether or not the two boys kissing is legal, and custom keyboards for everyone from travelers and fashionistas to Texans, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve reached peak emoji.

Who would’ve thought over 5,000 years after hieroglyphics were first used that civilization would still be so obsessed with a symbolic vernacular?

Brooklyn-based art director Brad Warsh took America’s obsession with the cartoons literally, and started placing the symbols in real-life situations, a series he aptly titled, “Emoji IRL.”

"I did this project to show how seamless emojis have become in our world; how we use them every day without even really noticing anymore," Warsh told Refinery29 of the series. "I came across it by accident, when I was messing around with a photo-sharing app over a year ago. I put an oversized sad-face emoji over my friend's face, and it kind of took off from there."

Created entirely on his iPhone, Walsh’s images are primarily New York City-based, with illustrated mice invading the subway and cartoon cabs on the streets, though a few, like the sun in the sky or the coffee cup, that could be taken anywhere.

See some of our favorite snaps here, then check out his hashtag, #emoji_irl for the latest updates.

Brad Warsh

Brad Warsh

Brad Warsh

Brad Warsh

Caroline Hallemann is the associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @challemann.

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