The New Masters
Picasso had cubism and Van Gogh had impressionism, but deep in the digital age, we're at the height of photorealism. The process of capturing a photo and then transferring that image with paint onto a canvas has revolutionized realism, creating paintings that could pass as photographs. Requiring obsessively perfect technique, the artists of photorealism will surely be the new masters of our time.
Photorealist Roberto Bernardi was born at the roots of the photorealism movement in 1974. The Italian artist, after graduating high school, moved to Rome to work as a restorer of San Francesco a Ripa church.
Bernardi's attention turned toward photorealism in 1994, when he began focusing on contemporary still-life, particularly kitchens, candy, and grocery stores.
Photorealist Gregory Thielker takes the movement one step further, pushing himself to experiment with transparency and layering.
Thielker's photorealistic road series "Under the Unminding Sky" was inspired by his interest in how traveling effects the way we see landscapes.
Spanish photorealist Pedro Campos didn’t start oil painting until age 30. Oil paint is not Campos’ only medium, however. He also works in illustration, sculptures and restoration of furniture.
To view more of his work, click here.
As a child, Steve Mills requested pencils over crayons to draw with because of an obsession with detail. Mills didn’t start studying art formally until 1982, and it was his fascination with Richard Estes that pushed him toward photorealism.
Ortiz, who focuses on the female figure and exceptional depth of field, told Juxtapose magazine, “Since I started painting, I have always tried to represent things as real as I can. Sometimes I succeed and some others I don't, but it's a fact that it is very difficult for me to do otherwise. I enjoy the challenge of reproducing skin tones and its nuances under natural light, particularly in bright conditions.”
Jason de Graaf
De Graaf, both a hyperrealist and photorealist, explains, “My paintings are about staging an alternate reality, an illusion of verisimilitude on the painted surface. I try to use objects as a vehicle to express myself, tell a story or least hint at something beyond what is actually painted.”
Kang, Kang- Hoon
The Korean oil painter may have a very quirky edge to his paintings, but no one pays more attention to detail of skin and hair. Every pore can be seen in his work.
The British painter first turned toward photorealistic painting after she developed her technical skills by painting the Umbrian countryside. Now represented by Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York City, her art centers on land and cityscapes.
Another landscape enthusiast, Meniel’s work was called “Bubble gum for the eyes,” by the New York Times.
John Salt was one of the pioneers of photorealism, focusing on rural America. Basing all of his paintings off photographs, Salt has said, “I don't like taking photographs because it puts you in situations where it can be confrontational or it can be awkward. My ideal would be a Sleeping Beauty situation, where for one day everybody goes to sleep and I could just wander around taking photographs."
Rod E. Penner
The Texas-born artist’s latest series focuses on his home state. Using 6x6-inch canvases, he calls the small painting “poems or meditations.” See this series here.
Ozeri combines his passion for landscapes and human subjects into each of his pieces. It is rare to see a horizon in any of his works, however, as he aims to keep both time and place ambiguous.
Maier takes his photorealistic paintings to a new level. Not only are they obsessively detailed, but they're life-size as well.
"Though I have done purely realist paintings, I prefer the clarity and dependability of photo information, especially for landscapes," says artist Don Jacot.
Davis Cone, another pioneer of photorealism, uses art deco movie theaters as his only subjects.
"I love the way the camera freezes a particular moment, capturing a kind of found surrealism that is the essence of contemporary urban life," explained Blackwell.