Artists that produce photorealistic sculptures, for the most part, aim to show us our bodies and life as it really is.
Technically, artists who strive for a high resolution level of detail in painting or sculpture are called “hyperrealists”, although all hyperrealists are also considered to be photorealists.
Every detail is slavishly recreated as close to the real life model as possible, even if the sculpture is larger than the original scale.
Photorealistic sculptors create truly amazing sculptures that will make you feel wonder, revulsion and the sense of looking in someone else’s mirror.
In this post we feature sculptors Ron Mueck, Evan Penny, Jamie Salmon, Duane Hanson, Sam Jinks and Adam Beane who produce sculpture that seems alive in every detail, right down to veins and rashes on skin. This compilation should give you a cross section of modern photorealistic sculpture.
Age spots, wrinkles, and every detail of a face are featured in the work of Toronto artist Evan Penny.
He generally produces head-and-shoulders busts larger than life size, and implants each hair one strand at a time while creating his sculptures.
Like Mueck, Penny has an extensive background in special effects for film, and his effects have been featured in X-Men and Johnny Mnemonic.
Ron Mueck is one of the premier names in the photorealistic sculpture field. He used some of his talent to create visual effects for the 1986 movie Labyrinth.
After that he opened up a studio to produce visual effects for the advertising industry, which he was successful at for some time. In 1996 he transitioned completely into fine art, devoting all of his time to photorealistic sculpture.
He is best known for faithfully reproducing all aspects of the human body in either a larger or smaller than life scale. His work has been featured in art galleries all over the world, including the Tate in London.
Vancouver sculptor Jamie Salmon uses human hair to help accentuate his photorealistic sculptures.
Together with fellow artist Jackie K. Seo, they form Avatar Sculpture Works. Salmon uses a complex, multi-stage process to create each piece that can take weeks to months to acheive the realistic details that he is known for.
Hanson was one of the pioneers of photorealistic sculpture.
After acheiving a Masters of Fine Arts and teaching high school art, he created his first photorealistic sculpture in 1966.
He specialized in horrific tableaus, such as his first work, Hanson’s Abortion, which documented a “backroom” abortion. He started producing more simplistic, single-person sculptures in the 1970’s.
Australian sculptor Sam Jinks creates hyperrealistic sculptures from silicone.
He too has been a film and television special effects wizard for 11 years, having spent the last 5 years primarily on his own art. His works feature oddities such as a fox’s head on a man’s body and a man hanging by the armpits on pegs.
He names renaissance artists such as Bosch as his inspiration.
Beane only began sculpting in 2002 and developed his own material, called CX5, to lend even more detail to his hyperrealistic action figure sculptures.
The material handles like clay when warm, but is as hard as plastic when it is cool. He is known primarily for his posed action figures.