I received an email from a student today. In it, he asked this:

What is your opinion about making 99.99% accurate manual art, when photography can do the same job, within a blink of the eye?
Of course, artisanal way of doing is stunning, but I consider that we, artists, should keep a certain distance from hyperrealism, for the reason I stated above. Except for training purpose, where I agree with that idea.
But what is the interest of making a pixel-perfect clone of a photograph?
I’m eager to hear your voice on it, as a seasoned artist.

To me, the goal is freedom of expression.

Who is more free, the pianist who has mastery over the piano, or the pianist who can’t tell a C from a D? You can argue both ways, but to me, a lack of sensitivity and control are limitations to freedom.

Making 99.99% accurate art is a technical exercise that develops sensitivity & control. When we’re talking about working from photographs or images, it ends there. When we’re talking about working from nature, it can get very esoteric very quickly. What is reality? You’ll see that it is not static, but dynamic, and that all attempts to capture it have to be abstractions of the real thing.

How your mind and hands abstract “reality” can become the fascination of an artist and fuel a lifetime of exploration.

In the end it’s all about what frustrates and fascinates you. What are you fascinated by? 🙂