The images Paul Cadden creates are so incredibly realistic that you might first mistake them for photographs. But look closely and you’ll see that they’re actually drawings.
Cadden creates “hyperrealistic” portraits and landscapes, which so resemble real life that the subjects seem to come alive. The difference between hyperrealism and photorealism is subtle, but the two are distinct styles.
In photorealistic drawings, the purpose is to recreate reality exactly. In hyperrealism, the drawings are meticulously detailed to evoke a reality that wasn’t evident in the initial photo the illustration was based on. In this way, hyperrealistic art is an illusion of reality, rather than a recreation.
These hyperrealistic images often incorporate emotional, social, cultural, and political thematic elements to extend the visual illusion. This makes it a distinct departure from photorealism.
In an interview with the UK-based Daily Mail, Cadden states that his “inspiration comes from the phrase ‘to intensify the normal’.” He further said:
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.
Below are a sampling of his drawings, all created with pencil, paint, or charcoal on canvas. You can check out more on his website.