By Caroline Hallemann
June 22, 2017
© Brad Warsh

This piece originally appered on Travel + Leisure.

Between Domino’s allowing customers to order with the pizzaRussia 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.

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

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