In the past, surrealism was used as a way to liberate human experiences from the oppressive boundaries of reality. Currently, during a time of great uncertainty and political unrest, artists tackle environmental issues, capitalism, and asks the question of what makes reality, reality. Each artist creates a dramatic environment that allows the viewer to truly experience this unusual world, that is just adjacent to the world we live in. The artists pay extremely close attention to detail in order to create a convincing alternate universe. And when artists create such detailed pieces, the viewer is forced to question the meaning behind each element and contemplate why the artists decided to devote their time and effort into including each detail in their final pieces. There is also an aspect of craftmanship and slow burning passion in these pieces, when each piece takes weeks to create –it is truly a labor of love.
Paul Ressencourt and Simon Roche came together as Murmure Street in 2010 and have since created a subtle dialog about pollution through their hyper realistic carbon pencil and acrylic illustrations. The sheer vastness of the garbage in the drawings, contrasting with the miniscule subject, draw attention to how large the issue of pollution really is. Even before starting a piece, Ressencourt and Roche sit down and have many discussions on the subject, sometimes even challenging each other’s view or “vision” of a topic. They also research the topic and the elements they plan on including in the final piece. For the “Garbage Ocean” series, they’ve had to shoot and reshoot the garbage bags in order to get the perfect and believable composition. Next they start the piece by spending a laborious week on the “Ocean” alone, and another day on the painted elements. Since they are a duo, there is a lot of back and forth throughout the process of creating each piece to achieve the precise balance between the details and energy of the lines and masses.
Brian Robertson’s work has a meditative quality that is shown in his limited, black and white, color palette. This allows Robertson to focus on the values rather than the tone, and in turn makes his surreal portraits believable.
For “Details”, renown French street artist, Pez chose to continue in his Dream series and his Pixel series. Pez is known for his incredibly detailed pieces that can take upwards of 2 weeks to create, and in his Pixel pieces, he combines a sculptural aspect to his paintings by painting on three layers of wood that have been produced by Pez himself. “Magic Pen” and “Victor the Cleaner” combine the digital world to with the realities of graffiti, by incorporating a transparent grid that is seen in Photoshop with traditional graffiti imagery. The idea of the pixels in our screens relating to the atoms and molecules that make up our everyday lives, is an idea that Pez is intrigued by.
Oky Rey Montha slowly chisels away at a piece, by adding small details here and there. Montha believes that the tiny details are what gives each piece it’s strength and intrigue. He creates pieces that reflect the present circumstances that we are living in, and for the pieces “2020 SUIT” and “After party 2020”, Montha reimagines society in the aftermath of COVID-19. He includes familiar imagery but with a COVID-19 twist, especially relating to global social distancing regulations. This is unfamiliar territory for everyone, so by including armor and protective equipment that already exist, Montha is able to create a future that isn’t too far off from reality.