We live in a deeply superficial world that is fuelled by consumerism and . However hard we try, we cannot escape judgement from others; and this has been the focus of my work for the last three years since I started my journey at Chelsea College of Arts. Through hyperrealist drawings I have explored many different physical forms and traits that are subject to societal judgement, such as tattoos, prosthetic limbs, freckles, scars, anorexia, and cancer.
I use hyperrealism for several reasons: I think striping down art to a simple pencil and paper is very visually powerful; I love the detail in my work and how I’m transported to another world while drawing; and hyperrealism is not simply a replication of reality, rather it goes beyond (‘hyper’) what’s real, and allows the viewer to actually see and experience more.
One of my biggest inspirations, artist Kelvin Okafor, was the one who taught me to really ‘draw’. By that I don’t just mean the process of skilfully drawing faces, but deeply connecting with your subject to the point that you feel as if you know them, studying the intricacies of their face (e.g how many hairs they have in their eyebrows), their emotions, their essence, and then being able to convey that.
It is this that I’ve taken from him and built into my practice, which has taken me on this journey that ends with my final piece – a 23 by 32in hyperrealist drawing of Conor McGregor. Boxers and UFC fighters are typically seen as tough and fearless, however this drawing attempts to subvert that by stripping McGregor down to the nude and showing him as not only similar to everyone else, but also as vulnerable. His stance in the drawing balances his powerful boxer side and his exposed human side.
However cliché, it’s true that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.