Whilst many artistic disciplines are almost exclusively made up of art school graduates, Hyperrealism is renowned for how often its practitioners are drawn to it from unusual disciplines. Pedro Campos, for example, arrived at his monumental works of oil and canvas after a protracted sojourn in art restoration. Francois Chartier was also drawn to Hyperrealism later in life, after spending 25 years working in the advertising world as an art director and illustrator he felt compelled to abandon his successful career for the paintbrush. In his own words”painting was the only logical direction I could take as my experience, personal taste, longings and training, had prepared me for this path.”
Befitting his background, Chartier’s approach to Hyperrealism has as much in common with a film set as typical painting. After an exhaustive search for the right subject for a new painting, he will physically create it [many of his most famous works have taken the form of dramatically arrayed collections of childhood memorabilia, but often his subject be painstaking difficult to assemble correctly] and then stage a photo shoot. He will take hundreds, occasionally even thousands of digital photographs of his subject before using digital editing software to edit and combine this vast catalogue of images into a guide which he can use not only replicate his original model but accentuate it. After preparing his huge canvases with gesso paint to mute any faint signs of brushstrokes, he can finally begin to create.
The end result of this exhaustive process is some of the most explosively colourful and scintillatingly clear imagery in Hyperrealism. Their massive size shows off Chartier’s control with the force of a hammer; taking simple objects and even detritus like plastic packaging he arrays his subjects with a sly impish sense of humour that belies there raw dramatic power. The central factor that separates Hyperrealism from its progenitor Photorealism is the drive not merely to recreate reality but turn up the dial so to speak, to deliver imagery that are more intense and visceral than reality itself. He is represented exclusively by Plus One Gallery in London, which has many of his most evocative works which considering the importance of their size with their impact deserve to be seen in person. Whilst Chartier’s choice of models might be pedestrian the end results are anything but.
Plus One Gallery is located in the Piper Building, Peterborough Road SW6 3EF and is open Monday-Friday: 10am-6pm by appointment only