These Paintings are Mind-Boggling

There’s an uncanniness to Kit King’s portraits. Reminding us of photographs more than anything else, her hyperrealistic paintings might alarm you at first with their incredible level of detail. Even more incredible is the fact that King hasn’t received any formal training through art school.

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Throughout the years I’ve explored various art media and the many techniques and approaches to each. The one I keep going back to seems to raise the most questions: OIL DRY BRUSH ON CLEAR GESSOED LINEN. This has become my signature media over the years, and is often mistaken for charcoal drawing on toned paper. Hard to tell from a little square photo on a small screen, but the difference between them is felt in person. In an effort to demystify this approach (I get so many DM questions pertaining to) I’ve been going through the process of what’s involved in one of my works and I’ve turned it into a highlight on my profile. Breaking down the process, how to correct errors, how I see the subject, and all captured in oil paint on linen. This medium is not forgiving! You cannot paint over it, and you cannot erase it. So if you make a mistake you have to really push yourself creatively to find ways to fix them. It is the one approach that destroys my body more than any other. You need to work fast to lift paint out, and not let it set until it’s just right. You need quick hand movements to blend smoothly. It takes a massive tole on me physically (have to ice my hands and wrists after each session), but I’m obsessed with it as a medium. I love the pressure of no error margine. I love the way it forces me to see and think creatively in terms of process and not just subject. I love that it is both loose and refined at the same time. I can be very stubborn and obsessive and yes, a control freak, and this medium forces me to be more malleable when things don’t go my way. It teaches me adaptability. It gives me a unique push and pull relationship with the artwork. I can never force my way on it, it has to happen how it’s going to happen. Sometimes the medium we choose to create in isn’t for the end result. Sometimes it’s for the pure joy of process. • Crop of current work in progress. Oil on clear gessoed Belgian linen.

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“I’m sure you can learn a ton from art school,” she relayed in an interview with Jung Katz, “but it depends on what you want to take from art, and where you want to go with it that should determine whether or not it’s for you. For me, I couldn’t imagine being ‘taught’ art. It’s one of the only free things in this world and I’ve personally gained so much from having the artistic process be 100% my own journey, untainted from outside influence.”

But with both her parents being artists, you could argue that she didn’t have much of a choice. “Art is life,” she puts it, simply. “Art is my breath, my escape, my happy place. Art is my own safe haven in a hectic world. It’s where I go to hide from it all, and is also where I go to enjoy it all.”

Judging by her massive online following (that includes more than 345k fans on Instagram), other people are enjoying her paintings just as well. She has also won several awards for it, and her work is kept in both private and public collections worldwide including the MET’s publication collection. It’s also exhibited worldwide, in galleries and museums.

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🔴Pastel on paper.

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