A single photomontage can take van Empel up to three months to complete. Working with Photoshop, he stitches together a myriad of individual images into a seamless, albeit surreal, whole. Even his young protagonists’ faces are composed of many different parts. As a result, they appear as impeccable, almost alien creatures—like the two darling girls in Sunday #4 (2012), for example. Standing side-by-side and dressed in what looks like their Sunday best, the subjects stare obediently out at viewers. Their black skin is flawless, their hair styled into high Afros, which appear to echo the shape and texture of the manicured shrubs and trees surrounding them. They seem inscrutable—or are they open? They spring, after all, from the artist’s imagination, standing ready for whatever memories or meanings of youth we might wish to overlay onto them.