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Your Eyes See Photos, But These Are Really Hand-Painted Masterpieces

South Korean artist Young-Sung Kim has a very special talent, he can paint photographs. That may sound like a gross exaggeration, but just take a look at what he’s able produce with a paintbrush, some acrylic and mountains of talent and patience.

The old saying, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’, doesn’t really apply to Youn-Sung Kim’s art. You can stare at his incredibly detailed painting for hours and still not be able to tell them apart from high-resolution digital photographs. Kim is so good at what he does that, sometimes, he himself has trouble telling his hyper-realistic paintings from the photos that inspired them. Once, he actually mistakenly sent the press the file of a photo he took, instead of the painting he did, because they looked virtually identical to the naked eye.

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The Wood Veneer Paintings of Rob Milam

Using an artform known as “marquetry”, Rob Milam creates beautiful paintings with wood veneer.

Marquetry is defined as the composition of an image using natural wood veneer, cut into pieces and glued on a substrate, sort of like a puzzle. Every one of Rob Milam’s marquetry paintings start with a photograph. He uses Photoshop to create a black-and-white image showing the dark and light values and uses anywhere from four to sixteen different wood veneers to recreate it.

Every species of wood has a distinctive grain pattern and colors range from creamy white (holy and English sycamore), to dark brown (Brazilian rosewood) and even black (bog oak). Though he usually uses only naturally colored wood, Rob Milam sometimes makes use of artificially colored blue and green veneer, for replicating the eye’s iris.

The pieces of wood veneer are cut into pieces by the artist himself, using chisels, knives and saws.

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