“Photorealism isn’t real art. It’s pointless…just take a photo!”
We’ve all heard that argument. Today I’m going to tell you why I love working in realism and photorealism.
#1 – Improving your skills as an artist
The more you know how to do…the more you can do. Obviously right? I personally LOVE the combination of photorealism with other styles. It combines creativity with technical skill. If I don’t perfect my realism or photorealism, I can’t accomplish this look. The best way to perfect your realism is to copy a photo as exact as you can get it. Your understanding of realism will also apply to painting entirely in impressionism. While you’re not generally painting tight detail in impressionism, you need to have a great understanding of the human figure (if you’re painting portraits). It’s easier for many to gain that understanding by starting with realism first before applying those skills to another style. I have three pieces that I’m working on right now that are all copies of the original photos. I’m not changing much on any of them. When I choose to work this way, I’m strengthening my own skills.
#2 – Improving on a photo
Sometimes someone will capture the most awesome shot…but there were just a few things that kept it from being worthy of printing. A blade of grass or a branch in front of the subject’s face, half the subject being out of focus, something undesirable in the background. Any number of things can be wrong. I am regularly hired to take that photo, and make it better. To make it feel like a complete work of art. If I had not spent years producing things in realism and photorealism, I could not provide the client with what they needed. When I paint things to sell I like to change the background to something more unique, so I am not normally copying a photo exactly. I’m making something new and different.
#3 – There is a demand for this style
It doesn’t really matter if some people don’t get the point of photorealism. There are plenty out there who prefer it to any other style. Just because one person doesn’t like or appreciate it, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t hundreds of thousands out there who do. Some people don’t like abstract, some don’t like pop art. There is a market out there for every style. I personally don’t understand the love of Lady Gaga. Just because it’s not my taste, that doesn’t mean that she should stop making music, or that she isn’t great at her chosen style/technique. She’s making so many people happy by creating what she creates! Who am I or anyone else for that matter, to tell someone that their art is “pointless”.
#4 – It’s fun!
Create what you enjoy! I LOVE the feeling I get when I create something that is realistic. I have fun while doing it, I enjoy the technical challenges of recreating something from a photograph. Some people enjoy putting puzzles together, I like recreating what I see in a photo to something new on canvas or paper.