15 Photorealism Artists: Modern And Classic

By Tata Rossi 3 days ago, Inspiration

Photorealism artists create their masterpieces following the philosophy of photorealism. Based on photos, artists create the most detailed reproductions in different formats within the framework of this contemporary fine art. Most often, they resort to painting, drawing, and other graphic means.

By creating their highly realistic replicas of such familiar phenomena and people, these artists tell the world that painting and other media can still compete with photography in terms of realism and incredible beauty. Still-lifes, landscapes, street scenes, self-portraits of photorealist artists simply amaze and delight viewers. Today I will put you in touch with the world’s most popular photorealist artists, as well as their incredible and eye-catching works.

1. Miguel Angel Nunez

Location: Spain

This artist manifests himself in realistic and hyper-realistic still lifes. His works impress not only with the exceptional accuracy of forms and textures but also by catching the spirit and vibe of different subjects.

miguel angel nunez photorealism artists

Most often, his “models” are food or drinks, looking at which hunger and thirst wake up. Nuñez’s work focuses on light, shadows, and textures, and his tools are mainly oil, canvas, or wood. In 1996, he took up the position of professor at the Municipal School of Visual Arts. Miguel has repeatedly participated in collective art exhibitions in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and the EU.

miguel angel nunez photorealism artists

2. Alyssa Monks

Location: New York, USA

Alyssa Monks is one of the famous photorealism artists of the modern world. When she depicts the body of a person in the water or behind glass, her art is full of perfectionism. Using oil, she creates real masterpieces that are simply indistinguishable from portrait photography taken in the shower or bath.

alyssa monks photorealism artists

Admirers of her talent don’t lose interest in her work thanks to her experiments with composition: she depicts a humid and steamy environment, some kind of transparent barrier through which a model looks at a viewer or hides behind it. All these conditions create many opportunities for playing around with shapes and textures. Alyssa Monks’ work can often be seen in both individual and group exhibitions in Germany, Greece, Australia, and major American cities.

alyssa monks nunez photorealism artists

3. Gottfried Helnwein

Location: Austria

The main centers of Gottfried Helnwein’s incredibly large and heavy work are children, often accompanied by their idols from the cartoon world. Looking at his works for the first time, it is very difficult to realize that these are not photos in front of you – the realism of his work is simply amazing.

gottfried helnwein photorealism artists

Depicting children, his art cannot be called childish. His works permeate the images of children who somehow lost their priceless childhood. Due to his talent, he touches on important social issues, as well as troubles caused by historical and political events.

The most poignant and horrific themes that are often not identified with children, such as Nazism and the Holocaust, are also frequentде presented in his works. He directed his talent to calls not to be silent about historical catastrophes and to depict the fragility of the human being.

gottfried helnwein photorealism artists

4. Lee Price

Location: New York, USA

Such a photorealist artist as Lee Price boasts a very unusual direction in her work. The central theme of her artwork is women with their secret passions for food. Most often, the artist depicts herself in her works, and it is always a secluded atmosphere, for example, bedrooms or bathrooms, and the most varied dishes. She chooses such locations to convey the desire of women suffering from compulsive overeating to hide their addiction.

lee price photorealism artists

Food also has a special meaning – it is mostly unhealthy food, which in modern society is customary to refuse, such as muffins, donuts, and other unhealthy sweets, but it can also be just a cup of tea with a pancake. Another distinctive feature of her work is the angle – she depicts women with food from the height so that they see themselves from the side. Another reason for Price’s success is her own experience with eating disorders, so she knows what she’s doing.

lee price photorealism artists

5. Kelvin Okafor

Location: United Kingdom

Kelvin Okafor became famous for his hyperrealistic pencil drawings. Most of his works are portraits in which you will only see a face or a face with shoulders. This is because his main passion is facial features and the transfer of emotions that arise on them.

His paintings, modeled by Nelson Mandela, Amy Winehouse, Daniel Craig, as well as his own family and friends, gained incredible popularity. The efforts and indisputable talent of Okafor are aimed not only at high accuracy and realism while depicting facial features, but also at fixing facial expressions and emotions on this face.

kelvin okafor photorealism artists

Along with Photoshop artists, he also takes a very long time to complete a single portrait – that’s always approximately a hundred hours. The secret to his success is that he devotes several days to studying his model, his behavior, and his character, and only then proceeds with drawing.

He always establishes a comfortable atmosphere while creating his masterpieces, because he believes that the emotions and facial expressions of people should be as honest and natural as possible.

kelvin okafor photorealism artists

6. Oscar Ukonu

Location: Nigeria

Among many famous photorealism artists, it is very easy to recognize the work of Oscar Ukonu – they are large-scaled and made only using paper and a regular ballpoint pen. This only adds to his popularity, since the amazing realism created by such simple, understandable and ordinary tools cannot leave anyone indifferent. Oscar says he spends an average of 100 hours and 10 pens per work.

oscar ukonu photorealism artists

The key to his eye-catching works is a deep and long-term study of his model. According to Ukonu, during this time he manages to feel a person and connect with him/her mentally. He devotes his talent to Afrorealism and black identity, to which he contributes through the prism of his own and public references. Oscar Ukonu is proud of the modern world that is on the way to globalization.

oscar ukonu photorealism artists

7. Diego Fazio

Location: Italy

Diego is a self-taught artist from Italy who uses only a simple pencil in his work. At a young age, he was designing sketches for tattoos, and his main inspiration was Katsushika Hokusai. Perhaps his most sensational work was the picture with a girl standing under jets of water.

diego fazio photorealism artists

Most people simply did not believe Diego at first, they were sure that he was a scammer, and his work was just a photo because it is simply impossible to draw so realistically. Now the artist captures the progress of creating new masterpieces to prove to people that his work is real. On each new masterpiece, Diego spends about 200 hours.

diego fazio photorealism artists

8. Robin Eley

Location: Australia

Photorealist artist Robin Eley spends an average of 5 weeks, 90 hours each, on his works. In his paintings, you will see naked people wrapped in transparent plastic material. All this symbolizes physically naked people in front of society but emotionally closed from it.

Through his works, Robin explores how modern society perceives isolation. An artificial cellophane barrier thus acts as a means of inaccessibility. He incredibly accurately feels and conveys this phenomenon, because just as in his pictures we see a person behind a film, but we don’t know what he has inside, the world is faced with invisible isolation but is unable to pass through itself the feelings of the isolated.

robin eley photorealism artists

Just like digital artists, Robin often faces many challenges while creating his masterpieces. Two factors are paramount for him: color and value. He depicts cellophane film in different ways – sometimes completely transparent, often it can be matte or hazy, and sometimes with bright highlights.

robin eley photorealism artists

9. Ester Curini

Location: Italy

Another self-taught artist on our list is Ester Kurini. The central characters of her work are animals, often taking truly human poses depicted on a white background. She strives to convey the spirit, mood, and strength of each creation, and the exceptionally white background of her works helps viewers concentrate on the most important thing – emotions.

ester curini photorealism artists

It so happened that in her life Esther faced a cruel reality where people showed violence towards their defenseless pets. It is these terrible memories that awaken her strength to create paintings that she uses to reach out to the world with this problem. Ester Kurini is sure that the only way to a favorable life for both people and animals is coexistence and compassion for each other.

ester curini photorealism artists

10. Chuck Close

Location: USA

Chuck Close, an American artist and portrait photographer, is known worldwide for his large-scale photorealistic portraits. Most of his works are self-portraits or portraits of his relatives and friends. His paintings consist of many squares, each of which illustrates its own part of the overall large composition. Close seems to be building a map of his model’s face on the canvas.

chuck close photorealism artists

The grid system of such artworks is somewhat reminiscent of the flow of pointillist artists, which can be fully appreciated only by moving a certain distance away. This photorealism artist claims that to create a recognizable image of a particular person on canvas, he needs at least 150 such dots. Chuck poetically describes the essence of his technique as follows – “A face is a roadmap for someone’s life”.

chuck close photorealism artists

11. John Baeder

Location: USA

Second-generation American photorealist artist John Baeder uses oils and watercolors in his work, and his pictures can be admired in permanent museum collections around the world.

john baeder photorealism artists

He became famous for his incredible drawings of American roadside eateries. In the 70s, he started with postcards depicting roadside areas across America, and later he created works based on his own photographs that he’d taken during his travels. You can view Baeder’s highly realistic masterpieces at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Norton Museum of Art.

john baeder photorealism artists

12. Robert Cottingham

Location: USA

Another founding artist of photorealism is Robert Cottingham, with his drawings depicting the pre-digital age, characterized by the amazing attention to detail. Various signs from the mid-20th century became the central objects of this photorealism painter’s canvas.

He was obsessed with faithfully recreating typefaces, manual cameras, railroad boxcars, and mechanical components, drawing them in motion and enhancing their color gamut and light transitions.

robert cottingham photorealism artists

The artist explains that he chose such unusual objects for the artwork due to being impressed by Times Square at a young age. He builds the process of creating such high-precision paintings according to a certain scheme, which consists of sketching, photographing, creating forms using the grids, and designing a model itself.

Deprived of nostalgia, his highly precise canvases pay special attention to the form of objects. Cottingham states that such famous photorealism artists as Franz Kline, Edward Hopper, and some other modern ones significantly influences his work.

robert cottingham photorealism artists

13. Richard Estes

Location: Illinois, USA

In the 60s, Estes was one of the most popular photorealists around the world, delighting viewers with his urban landscapes. He calls the combination of several photographs into one composition and its subsequent hyper-realistic recreation on his canvases his main technique.

richard estes photorealism artists

In his works, one can often find various reflective surfaces – storefronts, windows of cars, and houses – depicting which he includes even more things in his paintings, striking us with his realism and detail.

Over time, Estes’ paintings have become a kind of spectacular architectural monument of New York of that time. Even after so many years and the rapid change of the buildings’ facades depicted, his works remain relevant and impressive due to their precision and ingenuity.

richard estes photorealism artists

14. Audrey Flack

Location: USA

Among the founders of the photorealistic movement, Audrey Flack, an American artist, and sculptor, take a special place. Still life paintings that meet the requirements of modernity have brought her great popularity. With her works, she strives to convey the spirit and atmosphere of femininity, so the main objects of her drawings are lipsticks, beautiful bottles of perfume, juicy fruits, playing cards, and other everyday items.

audrey flack photorealism artists

We can explain this passion by the Vanitas genre, which highly affects her. She depicts simple objects that make up our daily life in her still lifes. She spoke about herself like this: “As the only woman artist in the groundbreaking Photorealist movement, I broke the unwritten code of acceptable subject matter”.

While the famous photorealism artists favored depicting transport and empty streets, devoid of any emotion, in her opinion, Audrey Flack tended to emotions and symbolism, which she tried to convey with the help of ordinary things, however, very iconic in terms of illustrating the essence and nature of woman.

audrey flack photorealism artists

15. Pedro Campos

Location: Madrid, Spain

Pedro Campos picked up a brush only at 30, but even now, when he is over 50 years old, he causes extreme delight among his viewers when they find out that there is a painting in front of them, but not a photograph.

Along with photographers choosing still life photography as their direction, artists also often includes it in his work. This is because still life offers artists virtually unlimited control over form, composition, and finish.

pedro campos photorealism artists

Pedro Campos’s paintings are based on clear composition and extremely clean surfaces, light, and color balance. He grabs the attention of viewers by the choice of colors – they are few, and therefore his works are recognizable. More recently, the artist has reduced it to three shades only – red, black, and gray.

pedro campos photorealism artists
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