photorealistic

2

I had the awesome privilege of working on Redbull’s Music Academy NYC street campaign again this year, which is starting to go live around Brooklyn in the form of murals by the ever-amazing painters at Colossal Media (I can’t imagine trying to copy photorealistic art onto a big wall—those guys are so good but they probably also hate me at this point lmao). 

Anyway, I did portraits of Gucci Mane, Alice Coltrane, Jenny Hval, and Solange, so if you see their faces around the city this month, let me know!

the tumblr art scene as I’ve seen it for the past 4 years
  • Aesthetique ™ you’re not a true cool kid until you draw on graph paper or on overlapping sticky notes. You’ve taken pics of your sketchbook next to an aloe or cactus plant at some point. 
  • The Fanartist That one artist pretty much everyone who evenly remotely likes the show/book/movie/whatever knows. You watched their empire rise and you might watch their empire fall. Is that guy who somehow makes a full on illustration 20 min after the episode airs. 
  • The Portrait Artist The paintings are stylized just enough, everyone uses their photoshop brushes, and their art is so good you don’t realize all they do is draw the faces of hot people facing left.
  • The Professional Their stuff is so good. It is sO GOOD WHY ARE THEY SO GO– oh they’re an art director who has been in the industry for 25 years ok makes sense. 
  • The Sketcher: You’ve never actually seen a finished product from them, but you don’t actually care. Sketchbook pages packed top to bottom just to make you feel inadequate
  • That Asshole: *insert photorealistic painting* Caption: “drawn in PS. 5 hrs so it’s messy.”
  • The New Kid: They just bought a tablet, they still think art is fun, bless their little hearts. Every post comes with a 2 paragraph long explanation/apology. Motivate them, they’re still learning. 
  • That girl who just draws cartoon characters beat up I don’t know why That’s a thing why is this a trend
6

I wanted to share some work in progress shots from one of my paintings (sorry for terrible cell phone quality). This is  ‘View from the High Line - 26th Street’, completed late last year. 

The painting is based on photos I took from the High Line park, which is a repurposed elevated railroad track that runs through parts of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea on the west side of Manhattan. I love the High Line because it is covered in lots of interesting plants, but the views are pretty great as well. From this vantage point, you can see the Hudson River and Jersey City at the end of the street in the far distance. The large building at the end of the street with the horizontal bands of windows is the Starrett-Lehigh Building. Built 1930-31, it is an interesting early example of International-Style Modern architecture in an industrial building. This was historically a very industrial area, but it is now the heart of the Chelsea gallery district. The buildings on the left and right foreground, along with most of this block, are home to several high-end galleries. 

For the painting, I worked on Arches Hot Press 300lb watercolor paper. The size of the art is roughly 18 x 26 inches. I start with a detailed perspective drawing of the entire scene in pencil. As you can see from the progress photos, I worked from left to right, nearly finishing each section of the painting as I go - but always going back and polishing previous sections as needed. This strategy of moving across the painting helps me keep track of how much progress I have made, but i do not focus in on each little section and mechanically copy inch by inch from the photo. As with all watercolor, the painting generally starts light and the darkest colors and finest details are added last by necessity. I use a mix of watercolor tubes, most of which are Winsor Newton brand. I didn’t use any gouache or opaque white. I usually use a small amount of masking fluid and masking tape but I don’t think I needed much for this painting.   From start of the drawing to finish, this painting took about one month to complete - working on average a few hours a day.

I approach the overall process of a painting like this as if it were a traditional landscape painting. I am most concerned with balancing lights and darks, color vibrancy, warm/cool, etc. throughout the whole painting so that the final product is harmonious and compostionally pleasing. Balance was incredibly important in a composition like this one, which is so dramatically split down the middle. 

Sorry for rambling on, hopefully someone finds this interesting!