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HyperRealism: Paul Cadden’s Art

These might look like photographs, but it’s not all black and white when it comes to the work of this artist. Despite looking like they have been captured on a camera, these are actually hand-drawn images created by hyperrealist artist Paul Cadden.

The 47-year-old, from Scotland, is able to recreate photos in amazing detail, often just using only a pencil. From the wrinkles on a woman’s face, a puff of smoke from a cigarette or dripping water – Cadden’s drawings look unbelievably realistic.

Hyperrealism was born from the idea of photorealism, which are paintings based on photographs but created in a non-photographic medium.
Taking an average of between three and six weeks to produce, Cadden creates about seven pieces each year – which usually come in A1 or A0 sizes – and sell at galleries for up to £5,000 each.

A spokesman for London’s Plus One Gallery, which is featuring Cadden’s work in its current hyperrealism exhibition, said: ‘When you look at a picture of his work, they do look like photographs.
‘But when you see it in a gallery up close, you can tell it’s a drawing. The detail is incredible.’

Cadden, from Glasgow, was last year shortlisted for Artist of the Year 2011 for his drawing, ‘Painted context’. He said: ‘I’ve been drawing since I was six years old and have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember.
‘Hyperrealism tends to create an emotional, social and cultural impact and differs from photorealism which is far more technical.

‘My inspiration comes from the phrase “to intensify the normal”. I take everyday objects and scenes of people and then create a drawing which carries an emotional impact – it can be quite beautiful.
‘I try to study the internal aspect of the image rather than focusing solely on the external part. I can fall in love with an image – if that doesn’t sound too hippy.’

He added: ‘I like to know the stories behind the faces of people I photograph – they could be a veteran war hero, you just don’t know. ‘What makes me different from other hyperrealist artists is that I predominantly work in pencil, while many others tend to use an airbrush. ‘I have done one painting that measured 60 x 40 inches – but I’ll never do that again, it was a killer! ‘Portraits are my favourite to do – I particularly like the one of a man with water running off his face, called ‘After’.’

‘After’ is included in the following selection.

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