At first glance, Korean artist Kang, Kang-Hoon’s portraits may look like photographs, but if you peer closer…they still look like photographs. And that’s what makes them so breathtaking. These portraits of men and women donning various costumes and posing with strange props are actually oil paintings. According to Kang, his work is meant to “depict the modern person who dreams of an escape from his inner turmoil.” Kang captures his subjects with startling accuracy, right down to the reflections in their glasses, the smoke from their cigarettes, and the liquid in their scuba masks. When asked why he chose to paint portraits in an interview with Bridge magazine, Kang said:
“Portraits are difficult to tackle and [I] knew that the Korean art market was a hard industry to break into, but I was not afraid. I think that more than anything an artist needs to express himself without reservation through the medium he desires in order to enjoy what he does and face his inner self.”
Difficult to tackle, eh? When you paint portraits the way he does, difficult to tackle might be a major understatement.
Here’s some of his outstanding work: