How realism is perceived

Last Updated on Thursday, 1 July, 2021 at 3:38 pm by Andre Camilleri

Mark Muscat and Francesca Attard, two artists specialising in Realism, teamed up as art partners and started exhibiting their work locally. Mark, with him being self-taught, developed his talent in Sacred and Architectural art by portraying them in detail with acrylic on canvas. Francesca is undergoing studies in Fine Arts, whilst developing her skills in Sacred Art and Portraiture in which she portrays with Graphite or Pencil Colours on paper.

The art market is all about competition, just like any other market, and we saw that teaming up and collaborating as art partners started to change the situation. Merging our skills and aiming to reach our artistic goals together was a starting point to our career. Selling art has always been much more difficult than creating it. So, we started locally, building gradually by reaching people who appreciate our original work and also potential buyers. From then we decided to exhibit together and display our works locally.

Nowadays, it is often stated that anything can be art, as long as the artist behind the work says so. Yes, there are skilled artists who specialise in abstract and contemporary art. Hats off to these artists! However some, from complete blank canvases to simple abstracted shapes and colours that require little to no definite skill, are being glorified as artistic expressions in the modern era. Art is frequently perceived as an escape from reality and a form of therapy; an opportunity for one to express thoughts, emotions and desires. This concept does not fit entirely with the genre of hyperrealism, in which another reality is created by bringing “the everyday to life”. Realists and hyperrealists are often criticised for “copying from a photograph”, but one should not compare a human rendering with a digital image as they are two different media with different qualities. “Why bother painting or drawing in such a precise manner when the camera can do all the work?” An answer to that question would be, while photography is used as a tool for us to rely on an image, we take it up a notch and aim to create a new reality, while challenging the limits of human vision. We try to go beyond what the camera’s image offers us. When attempting to capture our own images we challenge our vision too, as we get to experience a large real-life structure in front of our own eyes but at the same time looking at it through a small, digital framed image. Our work is considered photorealistic to the public since we do rely on photographs, but we don’t just aim to re-produce a particular photo into an artwork. It is highly common to hear people debate on whether this style is an art form and this is the reality we face as artists when our art is displayed publicly. So, with this reasoning, art is not evident in our stunning churches because they are depictions of reality.

We explore realism and hyperrealism through different subjects but, through the concept of the style that we both follow, they complement each other. When it comes to architecture, the viewer is invited to admire a different perspective of national Maltese monuments with their defining characteristics. In regard to portraiture, the viewer can identify personality and character through an accurately drawn portrait. Through these two main themes there is always the aim to capture the subject’s identity and bring it to life through these elements.

It is not only about bringing out the defining characteristics of a subject as a person might think. We give great importance to the subject and details, and through the elements we create, we want each individual to get something out of viewing the artwork. Through the ability of emphasising texture in our works to show a subject’s tactile qualities, we urge the viewer to touch the artwork to discover that it is certainly not real. This is how we create an atmosphere of hyper in our works. We aim to depict a sense of illusion that the object is an extreme close-up when it isn’t really. We cannot afford to include any inaccuracies in the technical process, as the sense of realism would already be lost if the subject is not rendered life-like. However, we believe that the imperfections of the subject itself are what create beauty. We do not attempt to eliminate any deformity or blemishes, but we do the total opposite. We dig deep to search for those features from high ISO images that we take ourselves to continue enhancing the subject’s details. These flaws are what make the artwork almost flawless.

We pour our heart out with each piece we create from start to finish. Yet, we still come across people who state that there is no creative process into it because we are compared to printers or photocopiers. Many are fascinated to know that someone can draw or paint with such detailed quality but would only think that it is just an achievement and a skill.

In conclusion, what’s the reason that we shouldn’t appreciate an art form that requires great discipline and level of skill?

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