Patrick Kramer finds joy in the challenges of hyper-realistic paintings
When most people see the works of Patrick Kramer they ask themselves whether or not the image is a painting or a photograph.
Rest assured, they are all paintings, but done in a way known as hyper-realism, something that Kramer has done since he graduated college.
"There is a knee-jerk reaction to these works where people see how real it looks and say, ‘Why not just take a photo?’" Kramer said during a Park Record interview. "I was sort of like that in college, but then my personality kicked in and I wanted to perfect the craft.
"I just wanted to push the limit with my graphite drawings just to see if I could do it," he said. "I never intended on pursuing it, but once you learn how to do it, it’s hard to let go. And it’s gratifying and I just kept it up."
Trove Gallery, 804 Main St., will host an artist reception for Kramer on Friday, March 25, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event, which will be held during the Park City Gallery Association’s monthly gallery stroll, is free and open to the public.
Kramer, known for his works depicting goldfish in glasses, marbles and landscapes, will present nine new works at the gallery.
"These will all range from butterflies and mannequins and art-supply images," Kramer said.
Butterflies are a new subject for the painter.
"I think there is a decorative quality to them that I think is fun," he said. "I started them a year ago or so. I did some flowers and that led to butterflies and other insects. And to know that some of the paintings will end up in people’s homes made me want to do something different that would look good on the wall."
The challenge of painting something that looks so real lies at the beginning of the project, according to Kramer.
"The first couple of days is very stressful because you want to find the initial colors and values and try to get everything right," he said. "Once you get it going, it’s all about putting in the hours."
The artist works in thin layers in order to capture the tightness of the subject.
"I put the first layer down and when that’s dry, I’ll go over it for a fine tuning and pull out the subtle details — the highlights, shadows, wrinkles and pores," Kramer said. "It’s not hard by that time. It just takes time."
Kramer gets his inspiration from photographs.
"I’ll have an idea and then gather some props and take hundreds of pictures and fine tune them in Photoshop to get the image that I want to paint," he said. "Then I’ll start painting it on canvas. During that process, I’ll do little adjustments here and there, but it’s all about putting in the hours and bringing the painting to life."
Kramer said oil is the best medium for his method.
"It’s so versatile because you can do transparent glazes and let that dry and come back and work on different things," he said. "To me, it’s almost like drawing." Kramer isn’t a stranger to drawing.
"I did a lot of drawings, mostly with graphite, in college," he said. "Then I switched to oils and haven’t gone back since."
Most of Kramer’s works depict motion or perpetual motion.
"A lot of the artists that I admire do that," he said. "One artist, Jeremy Geddes, whom I follow on the Internet, does these amazing scenes that look like they’re stills from movies.
"They’re all paintings, and they are so intriguing, because they show people flying and buildings breaking apart," Kramer said. "They engage you even if you don’t know what they are."
Kramer said that while his works aren’t anywhere as narratively complex as Geddes’ works, he does like to have some sort of story in his pieces.
"I like to paint images where something has happened or something is about to happen," he said. "I would like to continue to go in that direction."
The other challenge for Kramer comes at the end of the painting.
"You have to learn to stop yourself," he said with a laugh. "You can never make it precise enough and even if you can put in 20 more hours, it would only make it microscopically better, and that’s not worth it."
Trove Gallery, 804 Main St., will host an artist reception for hyper-realistic artist Patrick Kramer on Friday, March 25, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.troveparkcity.com.
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