Ever questioned whether that photo you're looking at is really a photo? Artistic movement hyperrealism sees artists using oil paints, pencils, or even the lowly ballpoint pen to create the most amazing life-like artworks that'll make you look twice. And here are some amazing examples that will make you question the accuracy of your eyesight...
- Also see: Colour pencil drawings you won't believe aren't photos (opens in new tab)
01. Don Eddy (opens in new tab)
Painted in 1971 by Don Eddy, what makes this piece so great is not necessarily the incredible detail and realism on the wheel of the car and the body, but also the unbelievable background detail that makes this painting all the more believable as a photograph.
02. Robin Eley (opens in new tab)
Robin Eley achieves in his paintings what every aspiring artist, although not necessarily an aspiring hyperrealistic artist, looks to achieve. Each time you look at a piece by Eley; you immediately have to study it, each and every detail, to find some sort of mistake or indication that it is just a painting, and not, as is often thought with this type of art, a photograph.
03. Keng Lye (opens in new tab)
These paintings could easily pass as photos of sea creatures in a bowl; except that they're actually 3D paintings! Using layers of resin and acrylic paint, Lye achieves unbelievable effects.
04. Steve Mills (opens in new tab)
The detail and texture on the pencils and paper can easily trick you into thinking this is in fact not a painting. A nice additional touch that Mills adds here, and in other works, is the reflective surface beneath, which further enhances the illusion.
05. Alyssa Monks (opens in new tab)
American artist Alyssa Monks creates incredibly realistic paintings of the human form and exhibits her art across the world. Using thick strokes in delicate colour pallets, she creates filters such as glass, vinyl, water and steam to distort her subjects, usually of women bathing.
06. Gina Heyer (opens in new tab)
Rather than focusing on the human body, Gina Heyer paints astounding lifelike paintings of abandoned interiors, using light and shade to create a feeling of empty spaces. Her recent project Order and Divison depicts an empty school in the most beautifully lifelike way - it really does make you question if the painting is indeed a painting, and not a photo.
07. Juan Francisco Casas (opens in new tab)
It's one thing to be able to make unbelievably real artworks with paint but imagine creating something that looks like a photograph using just a ballpoint pen. That’s the magic of Juan Francisco Casas' artwork. This amazing artist uses the humble pen to create hyperrealistic drawings with his friends as many of his subjects.
08. Diego Fazio (opens in new tab)
Self-taught Italian artist Diego Fazio chooses the lowly pencil as his tool, creating photo-imitations of his human subjects, with each taking a staggering 200 hours to complete.
09. Roberto Bernardi (opens in new tab)
Italian-born Roberto Bernardi is one of the most well known photorealist artists, with his art displayed around the world. Using still life pieces for his subjects, Bernardi has painted vivid and unbelievable lifelike paintings of fruit, sweets, and glass.
10. Pedro Campos (opens in new tab)
Pedro Campos is another super-talented photorealist artist, making the everyday object such as a plastic bag or coke can come alive through his oil paintings. Already an illustrator and artist working in various creative agencies, he didn't begin oil painting until the age of 30 but his spectacularly realistic works have been described by the Huffington Post as having "an aura of glossy, and sanctified perfection about them".
11. Transparent House (opens in new tab)
San Francisco-based creative agency Transparent House took hyperrealism to a whole new level with their 3D animation of a blazing dragonfly. An in-house project, the team used 3ds Max and ZBrush predominantly, combined with After Effects and Photoshop for composition and FumeFX for the fire simulations, to advertise an imaginary vodka brand.
12. Rob Hefferan (opens in new tab)
British painter Rob Hefferan paints such beautiful images of opulently dressed women in glamorous locations that his work has been compared to high-fashion photographs. His oil canvas paintings take around 150 hours to finish and require the same amount of preparation, stylists, and models as a photo shoot.
13. Nathan Walsh (opens in new tab)
Nathan Walsh uses geometry to create the most astounding lifelike paintings of urban landscapes. His phenomenal series of New York scenes have beautifully depicted famous sites from the Queensboro Bridge to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store.
14. Tjalf Sparnaay (opens in new tab)
Dutch artist Tjalf Sparnaay uses food as his subject, painting the most incredibly life-like images of burgers, baguettes and even a fried egg. His spectacular oil paintings of everyday objects make him one of the most established hyperrealist artists in the world.
Have you seen any eye-popping pieces of hyperrealism? Let us know in the comments box below!
Words: Adam Cairns (opens in new tab) and Natalie Brandweiner (opens in new tab)
Adam Cairns is a designer and illustrator from Scotland. He has been producing illustration work for three years and has worked previously in a studio setting. Follow him on Twitter at @Adam_Cairns (opens in new tab)
Natalie Brandweiner is an online journalist for MyCustomer.com (opens in new tab), covering social media and marketing, and has a keen interest in design.