New media being used for hyperrealism

October 21, 2015
Waving Flags 1 by Diederick Kraaijeveld
Waving Flags 1 by Diederick Kraaijeveld

Hyperrealism is a relatively new art movement having first emerged from the photorealism movement of the 1970s. Primarily applied to the independent art style that developed in the western world following the turn of the 21st century, hyperrealism is a genre of painting resembling a high-resolution photograph.


The transformation from photorealism was fundamentally an advancement in the techniques used to obtain super-realistic paintings and the addition of narrative and emotion into work. As the movement continues to evolve, more and more different media are being incorporated into hyperrealist work. From wooden Converse All Stars to extraordinary street illusions, here are some of the best works of new media hyperrealism including the Diederick Kraaijeveld work exhibited at Plus One Gallery.



Realistic sculpture is not a new phenomenon. Michelangelo and Verrocchio, for example, produced sculpted masterpieces of human figures made from stone. But the inanimate state of their work is noticeable, you know you are looking at art. Hyperrealist sculptures on the other hand are often so realistic it’s difficult to distinguish between reality and fabrication.

Australian sculptor Ron Mueck uses resin, fiberglass, silicone, and many other materials to construct hyperrealistic likenesses of human beings. Mueck plays with scale to make figures seem several times larger or smaller than expected while retaining their life-like qualities.


Diederick Kraaijeveld produces exquisite sculptures beautifully recreated from vintage wood. Hailing from the Netherlands, his work gives a fresh spin on cultural icons such as pairs of Converse All Stars, a portrait of Barack Obama and a can of Heinz Baked Beans.




Body Art

Hyperrealist artists are increasingly turning to the human body as a canvas for their work. A model’s torso can be distorted using acrylic paints to trick the human eye into thinking it is something completely different. Some artists have taken this one step further to create intricately painted and hyperreal illusions.

Italian-born artist Johannes Stötter uses people’s bodies as his canvas to create extraordinary hyperrealist depictions of wildlife. Inspired by nature, he turns living models into animals, fruits, flowers, or blends them with exotic surroundings. Each painting takes around five months of planning to prepare and up to eight hours of work to complete.


Hikaru Cho also specialises in body painting but her work explores the sensation of being different to other people. The Tokyo-based artist has also been involved in an Amnesty International campaign where she produced hyperrealistic body paintings to represent various human rights.


Street Art

A new generation of artists are transforming two dimensional concrete walls and tarmac grounds into striking hyperreal illusions. 3-D chalk art is mathematically challenging in that the image can only be seen from a particular angle, but if mastered the result can be extraordinary.


Edgar Mueller is considered to be one of the world’s top 3-D street illusionists. He paints over large areas of urban public life and gives them a new hyperrealistic appearance, thereby challenging the perceptions of passers-by. While going after their daily lives, people change the statement of the paintings by just passing through the scene.


Time, patience, intricate brushstrokes and a well-lit workspace are usually important components in creating hyperrealistic artwork. Despite having barely any of these at their disposal, graffiti artists are also producing hyperrealistic work that could pass as photographs.


British street artist Smug One is renowned for his realistic murals in industrial and abandoned settings. Using aerosol cans alone, his detailed freehand paintings are inspired by popular culture and social issues. He also created London’s largest ever example of 3D photorealistic street art when he teamed up with dairy giant Müller to produce a 100 square meter advertisement mural featuring iconic cartoon characters.

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