Though New York based artist Casey Baugh’s oil paintings are generally described as realistic, there is a wonderous quality about them as well that does not exist in real life. First featured on our blog here, Baugh once compared his unique sense of reality in his paintings to one his first passions, photography, an art form that portrays a parallel universe or a version of reality that is “slightly off.” As seen in his instructional videos at his website, he works like a photographer does in a dark room when it comes to painting, building from values and highly saturated colors until his subjects start to take form. The result is a vivid reality that takes realism to a higher, almost unsettling level with a narrative that taps into our complexities and insecurities. 

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Need a next-level Valentine’s Day gift? Get tickets for an after-hours tour of MoMA this weekend. 

[MoMA members at The Modern Party on January 21, 2016. Shown: Vincent van Gogh. Portrait of Joseph Roulin. Arles, early 1889. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photograph: © Carly Gaebe / Steadfast Studio]