30-year-old Italian artist Marco Grassi paints intricate portraits so realistically, they seem like photographs. What makes his works even more remarkable, however, are the slight unconventional details he “gives” to his characters. By doing this, Grassi starts balancing on a very thin line between hyperrealism and surrealism, perfectly messing with his audience minds.
“My goal is to stir deep emotions, trying to make people more sensitive,” Grassi told Bored Panda. “I want to combine reality and surrealism, exploring human thoughts and nature in a more personal way.” Some of his subjects appear as half-human and half-statues, some dress in colorful fabrics or acquire futuristic jewelry, but all of them are so convincing, we are left wondering why these striking and mysterious people look the way they do.
The amount of time Grassi spends on a single piece varies depending on its size and complexity, but usually the artist devotes at least several months to one painting. “It is a very long work and requires extreme attention in all of its phases.”
By inserting surreal elements into the body (instead of portraying solely its super realistic features), Grassi seeks to highlight our dual way of being: “Our inner side, intimate and extremely sensitive, in opposition to our interest in the appearance of things, like a vase, a pot, a shell. Beautiful and precious, but empty inside.”
“The biggest challenge is always trying to maintain a level of extreme quality <…>, both for the human figure and applied elements, trying to create a homogeneous work in every aspect, as well as overcoming the idea of painting in a way that imitates photography exclusively.”
Scroll down to check out how masterfully Grassi recreates a huge variety of textures while maintaining subtle emotions.