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Old 05-30-2008, 10:02 AM
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Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Hello Everyone.

In an effort to be less reclusive and a little more interactive with my fellow artists, i have decided to ACTUALLY post some of my work here...what a concept ;-)

These are a few of my drawings.





This first drawing is of my mother. It is based on photographs taken on her 70th Birthday in Jan/2000. My mom HATES to have her picture taken, and only let me take a couple of shots of her before she had had enough. Her reluctance coupled with my (then) incompetence with a camera produced fairly lousy pictures upon which to base a drawing, but i worked with what I was given.
I am preparing to do a painting of her based on photos I took of her last November (at 77 years old). The night before, i had set up my photo gear to take her picture for her passport, and the pictures reflected her discomfort in front of the camera. The next morning (to my amazement), she happily posed for shot after shot, and i got some incredible source material to base a new portrait on. Below, is the Photoshop composite of several photographs from that day. The original background is stark white, but i think it makes her hair appear too dark so i am leaning towards this medium grey/green (like her eye color).

BTW: She is about 20 lbs lighter here than she was for the first portrait.




My mom is a complete character and a very interesting portrait subject. I could be biased, but i also think she is quite beautiful...still...at almost 80!






The girl ("Natalie") is a drawing i am (sorta) working on. She is a friend of mine, and the photos the drawing is based on were taken some time ago...with grainy 35mm film. The drawing is based on photographs that were taken for her head shots (she is an opera singer), and they simply don't offer anywhere near the amount of detail that i need to sucessfully complete a portrait...so i am a bit bored with it...although i LOVE LOVE LOVE her face and hair, so i return to it every now and again.


OK..that is probably MORE than enough for an intorduction.
I am VERY interested in hearing from other portrait artists who might be able to offer suggestions for drumming up clients for my (very specific) style of portraiture.
Cheers, and I look forward to getting to know some of you.
Mark

Last edited by Dana Design : 09-03-2011 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:17 AM
doodledee doodledee is offline
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Wow, these are amazing!
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:27 AM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

thank you muchly..or as they say here in Sweden: Tack sa mycket!
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:51 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Oh My!!!!!!!!

Your abilities are astounding. I would love to be a student of your tutaledge.

This is what I would love to acheive!!

An absolute fan!!!!!!!!!!!

Sharon
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:53 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Welcome here!!! You have a wonderful style. You remind me of my friend Bill Lazos, who does hyper real portraits like this.
Jocelyn
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Old 05-30-2008, 04:03 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Thank you very much Sharon...I have always had a tendency to not listen to compliments, but as I get older, they are really nice to get and muchly appreciated.

I consider myself more of a student than a teacher, but I will happily share my lessons as i learn them.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:16 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

You are amazing!!
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:18 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Well if you don't Take the cake (and all of it at that ), and here i thought i was a stickler for detail.............those are simply breathtaking,...Welcome To WC.
Gary
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:19 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Yes excellent.

Retha
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:15 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Welcome to WC....yes ..your mother is a very beautiful woman.
Your work is amazing...what patience and perserverance you have.Thankyou for showing them...really enjoyed studying them and hope to see more in the future!
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:50 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Wow, these are truly beautiful. Did it take you a long time to get all that detail? I am a fan too. Roxie
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:07 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Wow! Amazing detail! I rather like the ones that have unfinished bits to them so that you can tell they're drawings. Especially the opera singer. That is magnificent! I can see why you're smitten by that face and hair.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:32 PM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

these are something else! I have never seen anything like it. wonderful
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:51 AM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Hey Mark,
These are extremely well done. I can't imagine how much time it must have taken to achieve this level of insane detail.

I do have a question for you, which I hope doesn't offend you in any way. I am just wondering what is the point of photorealistic drawings/paintings? I mean, why not just take a photograph? It's a heck of a lot easier and faster and the end result is the same. I've always wondered this about photorealistic artists, but I've never had the chance to ask. Again, I hope you don't take offense to my question. I think you're very talented, but I'm just curious.

Have you heard of Chuck Close? He started out doing largescale photorealistic paintings like your drawings. He still does them but now they are extremely abstract up close and only begin looking like photos from a good distance. Anyway, maybe you should start thinking about how seperate yourself from the other "realists" out there...just a thought.

Oh, I have one more question. What do you use to draw these? ANd how do you get the highlights? Do you create the highlights by erasing or do you draw them with white conte or something? I can never seem to create the really delicate highlights like you have in the guy's beard for example. And these are done on graph paper I see...interesting. I really like how you let the grid show through on some of these.

Last edited by arachosia : 05-31-2008 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:06 AM
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Re: Mark Montana / Hyperrealist portrait artist

Hey "Arachosia" (sorry, i don’t know your name)
OK, here goes...remember: YOU ASKED FOR IT ;-))

I don't take offense at that question when it is asked (as it seems you have) in the spirit of genuinely trying to understand the value of photorealism. I take offense when people feel the need to denigrate the accomplishment of the photorealist in order justify other forms of art that require less technical proficiency.

The SHORTEST answer is: Why not?
The ‘short answer’ is: There is no inherent value in ANYTHING…art or otherwise…therefore, if it has value and merit to you, then THAT is the value of the piece. If enough people feel the same way, then it can be argued that something has value.

I think the crux of your question is: "where is the individual expression of the artist when he has slavishly copied every last detail from a photograph?" To a certain extent, I agree with you, but often times though, what masquerades as “artistic expression" is nothing more than the artist getting it wrong.

If an artist inaccurately renders the contours of a person's nose, or misplaces an eye by a few millimeters, is that artistic license or just shoddy workmanship?

Isn't the larger question: What is art?

If Damien Hearst is an 'artist', then why not the editorial department at "The Onion"?

I always marvel at WHY the question of 'WHY' is so often directed at photorealists. Why not ask 'WHY' David Hack-ney has been so successful...or ‘WHY’ Martin Creed gets an entire room at MOMA for his installation "lights going on and off".
One artist (who shall remain nameless...cuz' i can't remember his name ) was working on a series of canvasses which were each painted in a single color. The artist was very clear that he didn't use a roller or spray paint on each canvas, but instead, used a small paint brush, and built up the color using as many as 20 glazes. He called these canvasses "Color Portraits" (as in: portrait of the color blue, etc.).

Since I did roughly the same thing to my bathroom walls in my NYC apartment, I wondered why he is considered an 'artist' and not a ‘craftsman’. Where is the 'WHY' associated with HIS work? His artist's statement was FIVE PARAGRAPHS LONG and referenced Masters like Sargent and Vermeer (...uh…I think he forgot Sherwin Williams ;-))

In my mind, a photograph and a photorealistic painting or drawing are completely different things. One requires virtually no more effort than pressing a button while the other requires (sometimes) MONTHS of hard work and close observation and a deep understanding of the 3 dimensional REAL WORLD attributes are of the thing or person one is rendering. Photorealism also requires the artist to understand photography, photographic lighting, and the limitations of the camera and lens...and printer...etc.
As you may know if you have ever tried to photograph your own artwork, by merely tilting the camera up or down a millimeter or two, you will change the shape and proportions of the object you are photographing. The same rule applies when photographing a person.
Depending on the lens chosen (24 mm produces vastly different results than 70mm) a photograph of a person may make the nose appear larger and the ears appear smaller. There are also limitations having to do with tonal range and color shift, etc...The limitations are limitless!

I am not a true Photorealist or Hyperrealist, in that I am not concerned with mimicking things like the color shift that takes place in the printing process. Although I have (at times) borrowed the illusion of 3 dimensionality that comes from a shallow depth of field, this has been out of necessity more than personal preference. Instead, I use photographs (shot from many different focal lengths) to help me to understand the contours of the thing I am rendering, so that I can create the illusion of 3 dimensionality. In that process, there are countless decisions and artistic judgments that are made. In other words: I am not just a human Xerox machine. One could argue that I am a Trompe LOeilist…but that is not an issue I need concern myself with.

I am familiar with Chuck Close and greatly admire him as an artist, although he and I are trying to achieve very different things. His paintings often seek to explore the illusions of the camera that we take as the gospel and the nature of optics (a lesson well worth listening to).
In summation:
If it were necessary for mankind to evacuate the planet and move to Mars (...uh...can’t we go someplace with a beach? ), and there were only room on the spaceship for either Chuck Close’s portrait of his wife , or Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”, which would YOU choose?

Last edited by Mark Montana : 05-31-2008 at 07:19 AM.
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