Using photos for loose reference, Brooklin-based artist Alyssa Monks creates incredibly realistic paintings that make viewers scratch their eyes in awe.
Although many set photo realism as their ultimate goal, artists that can make people ask themselves “Is this a photo I’m looking at?” when they look at their masterpieces, are really rare. Alyssa Monks is one of those few talented masters that can recreate a photo from scratch using a paintbrush, as well as add their own personal touch and making an artwork really their own. Looking at her amazing works, it’s hard to believe they’re actually painted, and viewers are often only convinced when thy get close enough to see the brush strokes. The paintings are so realistic you can make out every little detail, down to the tiny imperfections of a subject’s skin.
Born in 1977, in Ridgewood, New Jersey, Alyssa Monks started oil painting as a child. Although it might look like she’s all about realism, in reality her works “explore the tension between abstraction and realism, using different filters to visually distort and disintegrate the body. In this shallow painted space, the subject is pushing against our real space. Strokes of thick paint in delicate color relationships are pushed and pulled to imitate glass, steam, water and flesh.” Water is used as a passive filter that reshapes the image of the human body and makes the paintings somewhat mysterious, despite their mind-boggling accuracy.
“When I began painting the human body, I was obsessed with it and needed to create as much realism as possible. I chased realism until it began to unravel and deconstruct itself,” Alyssa says on her website, “Realism and Abstraction are in a symbiotic relationship – they need each other to exist and eventually become the same.”
Photos by Alyssa Monks