Paul Cadden at the Piper

25 September - 26 November 2018

We are pleased to announce that we will present a solo exhibition of Scottish artist Paul Cadden's hyperrealistic pencil works as our welcoming exhibition to the iconic Piper Building.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Paul Cadden studied Animation and Illustration at James Watt College in Birmingham. After completing the course he became a designer for a mobile content company in Glasgow. Throughout his artistic career Cadden has always worked in a realist style but it was around ten years ago that he truly developed his Hyper-realistic approach.

Cadden is renowned for his incredibly intricate and highly accurate pencil drawings of urban landscapes featuring people. His artistic practice approaches portraiture in a holistic, 'social' fashion, capturing not just individuals but the culture and feel of their place and time. He maintains that for him hyperrealism is about more than representing reality in a new medium. It is, instead, about creating the illusion of a new reality - one that merges a believable, life-like appearance with emotional, social, cultural, and political themes.

Reference material is a big factor when working from photographs, Cadden uses his own material as well as stock footage. He manipulates his chosen images in Photoshop, enhancing details, adding certain elements and occasionally adding CG renders. Once he is happy at this stage, he then uses the grid method to transfer the design to the paper. As the picture progresses Cadden refers less and less to the source material, he inserts certain elements to create a false reality, a convincing illusion based on a simulation of reality. The drawing begins to take on a life of its own and the final drawing ends up looking quite different from the original photographs.


To create such intense imagery, Cadden uses a variety of tools, some stranger than others. He uses a Jewellers magnifying glass enabling him to add the most meticulous detail, metal and paper stencils for precision, paper blenders and for detail he uses electric erasers as well as many pencils ranging from 4H to 2B. Each drawing he creates takes anywhere between two to six weeks to complete, depending on detail and size of the piece, his sizes can range from A3 to A0.

Cadden's way of focusing on specific details; concentrating on human presence, altering and/ or highlighting aspects that may often be overlooked means that his drawings are not only intricate works of art that look like black and white photographs but they are more realistic than the original image, giving the him the freedom to push the images and deepen our view of the everyday and ordinary and perceiving the people and places just as he desires.

Installation Views