Art Imitates Life: Is Seeing Truly Believing?


What do you see?
A photo of a smiling attractive young woman? That's not what Dru Blair would tell you. Blair claims this is a portrait he painted as an art class assignment in 2005. According to Blair, it took about two weeks to complete and Photoshop had no part in the process.

Really? Yes, really!

That's Dru to the immediate right of the painting titled Tica. (By the way, this is a real photograph of these guys...)

We came upon Dru's painting in an August 2009 post on the Toy Zone blog, titled 10 Awesome Images That Are Actually Paintings.

The Toy Zone's excellent post set us on the hunt for other examples of what's called photorealism.

How could an artist really render a painting so real, so lifelike?

There are those who doubt the authenticity of some examples of photorealism and others who doubt its legitimacy as an art form. We certainly claim no expertise as art critics but what we've seen of this technique seems extraordinary. Do you agree?

Richard Estes
The art of Richard Estes brings to life a city of steel, stone and glass.

Telephone Booths

Supreme Hardware

Ralph Goings
NPR's Claire O'Neill wrote an article last September about realistic painter Ralph Goings and his fascination with diners.

Mr. Goings first photographs his subject area and uses a slide projected image to guide his hand as a painter. And at a certain point in the process, he turns the projector off and gives the pure artist within him the helm.

If you think that's cheating, we submit that this type of artistic drawing process was actually responsible for the birth of photography in the 1800s.

In the comparison images below the two examples seem somehow reversed. We expect paintings to have somewhat of a softer focus compared to the sharper, harder edges in photographs.

The Photo:

The Painting:

Denis Peterson
Denis Peterson captures dignity within despair in a brilliant series of paintings depicting hard life on the streets.

Toothbrush and a Comb (Acrylics and Oil on Canvas)

Dust to Dust (Acrylics and Oil on Canvas)

Iman Maleki
Iman Maleki is an Iranian artist who studied under Morteza Katouzian in the 1990s. His artistry brings to Western eyes a glimpse into the heart and soul of the Middle-East in a way that would be difficult to capture in traditional paintings and photographs.

Memory of that House (Oil on Canvas)

The Old Album (Oil on Canvas)

But hey, photorealists also know how to have a good time!
We're not sure if Rembrandt or Da Vinci ever tried to punk anyone with one of their masterpieces, but check out what Dru Blair did a few years ago to Chip Foose, host of Discovery Channel's Overhaulin'

Dru Blair tricks Chip Foose

Dru | MySpace Video