Most people love taking photos of themselves underwater, but English artist Sarah Harvey isn’t like people. She likes to take things to a whole new level by using photos of herself underwater as reference for her incredibly realistic paintings.
Most often than not, Sarah likes to be both the artist and the subject of her artworks. She puts on a bathing suit, jumps in one of London’s oldest pools and goes underwater so her photographer friend can take a series of photos. She takes into consideration the position of the sun every time she prepares for a photo shoot, and tries to include its reflection on the water whenever she can, along with the surrounding darkness to create a contrast that makes the distorted human figure look even more interesting. Once work at the pool is completed, the artist heads for her studio in East London, where she selects the best photos and starts placing them one over the other to create a collage.
Although her paintings look incredibly realistic, Sarah Harvey says she never tries to perfectly replicate the photos. In each of her pieces she will try to concentrate on a certain element she finds most interesting and leave the other parts “very much more gestural”. Still, her technique is impeccable and most people probably couldn’t even tell they were actually looking at paintings, and not photos.
Sarah herself has problems defining the unique style she came up with during a trip to Italy, a few years back, but describes it as a mix between cubism and realism. She says the purpose of her technique is to create interesting abstract images in which the human figure is broken up by the ripples in the water. Her incredible talent has already been acknowledged by the art world, and her paintings have been exhibited all around the world. Her one-of-a-kind underwater paintings sell for as much as €15,000 ($20,000).
If you find water-themed hyper-realist paintings interesting, you might want to check out Alyssa Monks’ incredible works of art.