Doug Bloodworth

Doug Bloodworth

The hyper-realistic pop art oil paintings of Doug Bloodworth

By Mark Westall • 19 May 2015
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Check out the photorealist artist Doug Bloodworth. Influenced by the lifelike sculptures of Duane Hanson, Bloodworth has taken this understanding of making something artificial seem completely real and combined it with homely American touchstones such as Keebler cookies, Cheetos, Tootsie Rolls and The Jetsons for a series of nostalgic compositions.

According to Photorealism’s curator and president David Muller, the charm of Doug Bloodworth’s paintings is his ability to depict the “pop culture flotsam and jetsam of our lives.”

About The Artist
Courtesy of Maria Ricapito

Photorealist artist Doug Bloodworth was inspired by the beyond-lifelike sculptures of Duane Hanson—most notably, a “security guard” on display at New York’s Van de Weghe Gallery. “Thousands of people, myself included, went up to him and asked him where the restrooms were. It was truly uncanny,” says Bloodworth.

Similarly, he enjoys overhearing visitors to his shows—in galleries from Zurich to Key West to South Beach to, yes, Disney World—saying that they “love the photos.” When corrected, told that these are oil paintings, he says, “Their look of incredulity is such a pleasure to watch. Many people stare at the paintings for a very long time.”

One reason they are enthralled is that Bloodworth delights in depicting such beloved and familiar touchstones of Americana as Keebler fudge stripe cookies, M&Ms candies, Coke bottles, Monopoly games, Batman comics, and The New York Times crossword—in mid-attempt—all blown up to giant 4-foot-by-5-foot size.

The hyper-real depictions of the pop culture flotsam and jetsam of our lives is a major part of the artist’s appeal, according to David Muller, president and curator of Photorealism, a Boca Raton–based dealer in solely photorealistic art.

“It’s a combination of, number one, the actual technical skill involved in the works,” Muller says. “I’ve been in his studio and sat there for three hours watching him complete three square inches of a candy wrapper. Watching it appear from a white canvas is totally amazing. Then you have the addition of nostalgia. When one sees the actual works, it takes you back to another time.”

This is a voyage that many have been interested in undertaking. Bloodworth feels lucky to be shown by Ron Hoy in his Hoypoloi Gallery (and its sister, Pop Gallery) located smack in the middle of Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. “Over a half million people walk by the door every week,” says Bloodworth. “They are introducing my artwork to a myriad of collectors, and I am so grateful for it. Over Presidents’ Day weekend, I painted live at the Pop Gallery and there was a line up around the corner [to get postcards signed and remarques done]. What a great scene it was.”

He’s equally happy (and humbled) to be on the walls of the Russeck Gallery on Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue and in Soho, New York City—where the other works hanging are by Picasso, Miro, Calder, Kandinsky, and the like. Not bad for someone with a degree in Commercial Art, who then apprenticed with Marv Gunderson, a renowned billboard painter.

“I worked under Marv for several years, painting outdoor billboards half the size of an Olympic pool,” Bloodworth says. “Most of the billboards were for Marlboro brand of cigarettes, although we painted other billboards as well for McDonalds, Budweiser and others. Each billboard took a whole team of us about two weeks to complete. However, after three months or so of being in view, the billboards were whitewashed to make space for a new ad for a new client.” He moved on to painting murals and developing his signature style.

His first five fine-art paintings were shown (and sold out) at Art Basel in Miami. The city is therefore close to his heart, and he shows at Effusion Gallery, next door to the Versace Mansion. “Recently, Lil Wayne came in [to Effusion Gallery] and bought my New York Times painting,” he says. “I was so honored.”

Bloodworth’s time, however, is spent not hanging with hip rappers but instead holed up in his studio near Gainesville, Florida. “A photorealist painting in the size I create them – four feet by five feet – can take me over two months to complete,” he says. “But it is a labor of love.”

Doug Bloodworth’s oil paintings are available at fine art galleries such as Thomas Lee Gallery in Ashland, Oregon, Avenida Galleries in Calgary, Alberta, Atlas Galleries in Chicago (two locations), Galerie Zimmermann + Heitmann in Dortmund and Dusseldorf, Germany, C Parker Gallery in Greenwich,Connecticut Sher Gallery in Hallandale, Florida Art Center Gallery in Irvine, California, Art Gone Wild in Key West, Florida, Pop Gallery in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Artcetera in Las Vegas (Summmerlin), Gallery One in Mentor, Ohio, Effusion Gallery in Miami Beach, Florida, Music City Fine Art in Nashville, Tennessee, Russeck Gallery in Manhattan (Soho), 1200 Images in Omaha, Nebraska, Russeck Gallery in Palm Beach, Florida (Worth Ave), Chasen Galleries in Richmond, Virginia Stone Art in Santa Monica, California, Andrea Smith Gallery in Sedona, Arizona, Douglas Albert Gallery in State College, Pennsylvania, Michael Murphy Gallery in Tampa, Florida, Hamilton-Selway Fine Art in West Hollywood, California, Around the Edge in West Palm Beach, Florida, Gallery 319 in Woodland Hills, California, and Foxx Galerie in Zurich, Switzerland.

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Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazineFounder and co-publisher Art of Conversation and founder of the platform @worldoffad

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Doug Bloodworth

Published: 16:07 GMT, 24 June 2014 | Updated: 18:15 GMT, 24 June 2014

Featuring Superman comics, Coca Cola bottles and Krispy Kreme donuts, they look like photographs of an American child’s bedroom.

But these colourful images are, in fact, photo-realistic paintings that perfectly capture the nostalgia of growing up in the U.S.

The stunning artworks — measuring four by five feet — were created by Doug Bloodworth, who took inspiration from his own childhood.

They feature a number of quintessentially American items, including superhero comics, cowboy fancy dress, glasses of milk and cookies, a Monopoly board and a map of New Mexico.

They also portray an array of retro treats, including Oreo cookies, Creme Wafers, Smarties, Hershey Bars and Twinkies.

‘My father was in the military and we moved around a lot,’ said Mr Bloodworth. ‘I was born on a US military base in the Philippines and also spent time in Hawaii as a child.

‘As such, I spent a lot of time watching kids’ television and reading comic books. As an adult, I love depicting these nostalgic images in my paintings.’

The artist, who graduated in Commercial Arts, spends ten hours a day working on his paintings in his studio in Florida.

‘A photo-realistic painting in the size I create them can take me over two months to complete — but it is a labour of love,’ he said.

Stunning: This image of a Superman and Batman comic, a Coca-Cola bottle and a packet of M&M’s may look like a photograph — but it is, in fact, a photo-realistic painting

Nostalgic: The four by five-foot artworks were created by Doug Bloodworth, who took inspiration from his childhood. Above, a painting of a Spider-Man comic and Oreos

Snack: Featuring a number of quintessentially American items (such as milk and cookies, above), the paintings perfectly capture the nostalgia of growing up in the U.S.

Road trip: ‘My father was in the military and we moved around a lot,’ said Mr Bloodworth. ‘I was born on a US military base in the Philippines and also spent time in Hawaii as a child. As such, I spent a lot of time watching kids’ television and reading comic books. As an adult, I love depicting these nostalgic images in my paintings’

Treat: Mr Bloodworth, who graduated in Commercial Arts, spends ten hours a day working in his Florida-based studio. Above, a painting of a Krispy Kreme donut

Amazing: Among his finished creations is a painting of a Wonder Woman comic, a Hershey bar and a drink (pictured), which took a number of weeks to complete

Retro: A photo-realistic painting in the size I create them can take me over two months to complete — but it is a labour of love,’ said Mr Bloodworth. Above, retro sweets

Talented artist: Mr Bloodworth, who spends ten hours a day working on his artworks in his studio in Florida, poses with his painting of retro sweets, including Smarties

Creme Wafers: The artist studied fine arts in college, before earning a degree in Commercial Arts and starting to paint caricatures. He said: ‘Then I was fortunate to be introduced to Marv Gunderson, the late world-famous billboard artist. I worked under Marv for several years, painting outdoor billboards half the size of an Olympic pool’

Incredible: He continued: ‘Most of the billboards were for Marlboro brand of cigarettes, although we painted other billboards as well for McDonalds, Budweiser and others. But after three months of being in view, the billboards were whitewashed to make space for a new ad for a new client. I was dismayed to see our hard work disappear’

Board game: Mr Bloodworth said he then painted two huge murals at Tampa’s Tropicana Field, which took six months to complete. Above, a painting of a Monopoly board

Observing his masterpiece: The artist stands in front of his Monopoly painting, which features money, houses, cards, a board, icons and cans of Dr Pepper and Coca-Cola

Detailed: Mr Bloodworth said his work at Tampa’s Tropicana Field inspired him to focus solely on painting fine art pieces. Above, a painting of a mug, tea spoon and comic

Seeing yellow: The artist said: ‘Photorealism is a genre or art which can be appreciated and loved by the novice as well as the refined collector. I am hoping the art form, along with the nostalgia that my paintings evoke, draws interest from collectors and potential collectors who happen to be walking by a gallery that sells my works’

Youthful dreams: This image of a Silver Surfer comic book and crisps is among many photo-realistic paintings perfectly capturing the nostalgia of growing up in the U.S.

Enjoyment: Mr Bloodworth said he ‘loved’ creating nostalgic paintings his childhood, such as this one of a Lone Ranger comic, a toy gun, a Marshal badge and sweets

Realistic: The artist spends ten hours a day working on his paintings — including this one of The Jetsons book and a huge tub of Jelly Belly beans — in his Florida studio

Childhood tricks: Mr Bloodworth said his photo-realistic paintings can take more than two months to complete — but described their lengthy creation as ‘a labour of love’

The hyper-realistic pop art oil paintings of Doug Bloodworth

By Mark Westall • 19 May 2015
Share —

Check out the photorealist artist Doug Bloodworth. Influenced by the lifelike sculptures of Duane Hanson, Bloodworth has taken this understanding of making something artificial seem completely real and combined it with homely American touchstones such as Keebler cookies, Cheetos, Tootsie Rolls and The Jetsons for a series of nostalgic compositions.

According to Photorealism’s curator and president David Muller, the charm of Doug Bloodworth’s paintings is his ability to depict the “pop culture flotsam and jetsam of our lives.”

About The Artist
Courtesy of Maria Ricapito

Photorealist artist Doug Bloodworth was inspired by the beyond-lifelike sculptures of Duane Hanson—most notably, a “security guard” on display at New York’s Van de Weghe Gallery. “Thousands of people, myself included, went up to him and asked him where the restrooms were. It was truly uncanny,” says Bloodworth.

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Similarly, he enjoys overhearing visitors to his shows—in galleries from Zurich to Key West to South Beach to, yes, Disney World—saying that they “love the photos.” When corrected, told that these are oil paintings, he says, “Their look of incredulity is such a pleasure to watch. Many people stare at the paintings for a very long time.”

One reason they are enthralled is that Bloodworth delights in depicting such beloved and familiar touchstones of Americana as Keebler fudge stripe cookies, M&Ms candies, Coke bottles, Monopoly games, Batman comics, and The New York Times crossword—in mid-attempt—all blown up to giant 4-foot-by-5-foot size.

The hyper-real depictions of the pop culture flotsam and jetsam of our lives is a major part of the artist’s appeal, according to David Muller, president and curator of Photorealism, a Boca Raton–based dealer in solely photorealistic art.

“It’s a combination of, number one, the actual technical skill involved in the works,” Muller says. “I’ve been in his studio and sat there for three hours watching him complete three square inches of a candy wrapper. Watching it appear from a white canvas is totally amazing. Then you have the addition of nostalgia. When one sees the actual works, it takes you back to another time.”

This is a voyage that many have been interested in undertaking. Bloodworth feels lucky to be shown by Ron Hoy in his Hoypoloi Gallery (and its sister, Pop Gallery) located smack in the middle of Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. “Over a half million people walk by the door every week,” says Bloodworth. “They are introducing my artwork to a myriad of collectors, and I am so grateful for it. Over Presidents’ Day weekend, I painted live at the Pop Gallery and there was a line up around the corner [to get postcards signed and remarques done]. What a great scene it was.”

He’s equally happy (and humbled) to be on the walls of the Russeck Gallery on Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue and in Soho, New York City—where the other works hanging are by Picasso, Miro, Calder, Kandinsky, and the like. Not bad for someone with a degree in Commercial Art, who then apprenticed with Marv Gunderson, a renowned billboard painter.

“I worked under Marv for several years, painting outdoor billboards half the size of an Olympic pool,” Bloodworth says. “Most of the billboards were for Marlboro brand of cigarettes, although we painted other billboards as well for McDonalds, Budweiser and others. Each billboard took a whole team of us about two weeks to complete. However, after three months or so of being in view, the billboards were whitewashed to make space for a new ad for a new client.” He moved on to painting murals and developing his signature style.

His first five fine-art paintings were shown (and sold out) at Art Basel in Miami. The city is therefore close to his heart, and he shows at Effusion Gallery, next door to the Versace Mansion. “Recently, Lil Wayne came in [to Effusion Gallery] and bought my New York Times painting,” he says. “I was so honored.”

Bloodworth’s time, however, is spent not hanging with hip rappers but instead holed up in his studio near Gainesville, Florida. “A photorealist painting in the size I create them – four feet by five feet – can take me over two months to complete,” he says. “But it is a labor of love.”

Doug Bloodworth’s oil paintings are available at fine art galleries such as Thomas Lee Gallery in Ashland, Oregon, Avenida Galleries in Calgary, Alberta, Atlas Galleries in Chicago (two locations), Galerie Zimmermann + Heitmann in Dortmund and Dusseldorf, Germany, C Parker Gallery in Greenwich,Connecticut Sher Gallery in Hallandale, Florida Art Center Gallery in Irvine, California, Art Gone Wild in Key West, Florida, Pop Gallery in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Artcetera in Las Vegas (Summmerlin), Gallery One in Mentor, Ohio, Effusion Gallery in Miami Beach, Florida, Music City Fine Art in Nashville, Tennessee, Russeck Gallery in Manhattan (Soho), 1200 Images in Omaha, Nebraska, Russeck Gallery in Palm Beach, Florida (Worth Ave), Chasen Galleries in Richmond, Virginia Stone Art in Santa Monica, California, Andrea Smith Gallery in Sedona, Arizona, Douglas Albert Gallery in State College, Pennsylvania, Michael Murphy Gallery in Tampa, Florida, Hamilton-Selway Fine Art in West Hollywood, California, Around the Edge in West Palm Beach, Florida, Gallery 319 in Woodland Hills, California, and Foxx Galerie in Zurich, Switzerland.

Categories

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazineFounder and co-publisher Art of Conversation and founder of the platform @worldoffad

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Our Top 5 this week features the 56th Venice Biennale, Jay Z and Marina Abramovic, Hyper realistic pop art oil painting, Swimming in Kings Cross and finally Tabish’s Top 7 Art Exhibitions to view..

The Art of Gotcha Is an Art Too: Doug Bloodworth’s Photorealistic Painting

This is part 5 of a 10-part series. To see the full series, see At the Confluence

The increasing prevalence of photography has fundamentally changed the way representational art is created and perceived in the modern day. At the Confluence examines how some of today’s artists have responded to the shift.

When people first lay eyes on a piece by Doug Bloodworth, they remark what a beautiful photo it is. Then they start pointing out familiar items from the curated chaos of sundry Americana: the Sunday funnies, a Marvel comic, a game of Monopoly, a toy cowboy gun. There’s no shortage of food—half-eaten pastries, M&M’s, devil’s food cake—anything Paula Deen would be proud of.

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Then, upon closer observation, they realize it’s not a photo but an oil painting.

“They’re amazed that it was done from scratch on a blank canvas,” said David Muller, president of photorealism.com. Muller represents Bloodworth and several other photorealist painters and sculptors.

“Honey Fly” by Doug Bloodworth. (Courtesy of Doug Bloodworth)

A Slow Art

That gratifying “gotcha” effect is a mere moment for the viewer but the work of two months for Bloodworth.

“First I get a rough idea what to depict, then my wife and I set up still lifes and light them with low lighting to produce long shadows,” Bloodworth said in a phone interview. “Then I take 20 to 100 photos, all the while rearranging and changing the lighting. My painting is a collage of information from a lot of different photos.”

What follows the initial setup is one of referencing multiple photos, life, and inching methodically across the canvas at an approximate rate of three square inches per four hours. A typical Bloodworth canvas is four or five feet wide.

It’s for this reason, Muller said, that photorealism as a genre does not have many practitioners.

“It’s almost impossible to find new people to represent, because the level of skill required to paint something good enough to fool the eye is almost one in a million,” he said. “And I don’t think anyone has the patience for it.”

Photorealist painter Doug Bloodworth at his easel. (Courtesy of Doug Bloodworth)

Muller’s primary galleries are situated near heavily traveled tourist destinations in Key West, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

“Tourists come by and that element of surprise becomes part of the memory of that vacation,” he said. Of course, 90 percent of buyers take home limited edition Giclée prints. An original doesn’t come by often, considering the time it takes to prepare and paint.

Definitions of photorealism vary, but all agree that the artist uses photographs as the foundation for an artwork done in a nonphotographic medium. With an emphasis on visual detail and lifelikeness, photorealism is believed to have come about as a backlash to pop art, abstract expression, and minimalism of the 1960s and ’70s.

Bloodworth has a degree in commercial design and has many years’ experience doing billboards (back when they were painted by hand, not printed and pasted in poster-sized squares) and caricatures at amusement parks.

He’s used photos as references all of his creative life, yet it’s debatable whether Bloodworth—along with the majority of artists Muller represents on photorealism.com—can strictly be considered a photorealist. All of them take photographs as the genesis of their work, but it’s unclear whether any of them intend to follow a photo reference strictly. For the human hand to replicate a photograph exactly, without the slightest variation, is also virtually impossible. In a way, it’s pointless to determine who is or isn’t a photorealist, since there are as many ways to use a photo reference as there are artists who use them, and how “accurate” a painting is to a photo is only a matter of degree.

“Silver Surfer” by Doug Bloodworth. (Courtesy of Doug Bloodworth)

Bloodworth’s craft is to walk the fine line between accurately depicting the subject’s physical attributes while at the same time creating a mood to capture a viewer’s attention.

“I make deviations from the photo to exaggerate forms, to leave out things, and enhance things,” he said. “So you’re not a slave to the photo—the goal is to interpret, not duplicate, the photo to suit your needs.”

To do this successfully, Bloodworth, like any artist trying to make a convincing picture of reality, has to engage some of the same skills that makes a good life painter.

“You have to understand what you’re painting, not just copy color from photo to painting,” he said. “You have to understand the form of the object you’re painting. The whole process is making decisions what to leave in or take out.”

Whenever there’s a passage he’s unsure how to execute, he’ll stop and look at a photo reference. And if the reference doesn’t help, he’ll get up from the easel and look at the item in the studio. Turns out photography doesn’t hold all the answers, even for a celebrated photorealist.

Tweet @EpochArts with your thoughts on the series using the hashtag #confluence.

Doug Bloodworth’s Influences, As Told by Doug Bloodworth

Harold Zabady
“Harold is a master of streetscapes. Every time I see one of Harold’s paintings, I feel like I am right back in New York City.”

Jim Jackson
“Jim’s matchbook series is a masterpiece of photorealism. But just as importantly, it brings the viewer back to their honeymoon, to a special anniversary or graduation meal or to a family vacation.”

Johannes Wessmark
“I love the relationship Johannes has with wine and all things wine. His Corkhenge series, in which he blends the wonder of Stonehenge with wine corks, is truly his pièce de résistance.”

Mark Schiff
“Mark is the mentor we photorealists all look up to. He has been the guide for all of us who are trying to portray flotsam and jetsam in oil paint. Mark’s most famous works include the theater candy counters and the series of scenes from the Brooklyn-based seltzer man.”

Ralph Stearns
“The word I use to describe Ralph is ‘exactitude.’ Ralph does not go for the soft edges; he brings hard lines into his work in an exact way. I am most impressed with his Las Vegas series of paintings of blackjack. I especially love the casino chips.”

Rich Conley
“Many curators ask me why I am obsessed with caricature. I love caricature because I believe that it is the polar opposite of photorealism, and yet the talents required are so similar. Rich Conley, I believe, is one of the great caricaturists in the USA today.”

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