WITH their spectacular use of focus and reflected light, these incredible artworks look like carefully composed still-life photographs.
The hyperrealistic paintings, which almost appear as if they are computer generated, are like freeze frames of a world more magical than our own - inspiring the term Magic Realism as a description.
Born in Motreal, Canada, in 1971, Mr de Graaf currently lives and works in Oka, Quebec, where he works for hours on end in almost total isolation to complete his intricate pieces.
He first photographs his still life compositions, before drawing them on to canvas with pencil then painstakingly recreating the images - coloured by his own interpretation - with acrylic paints over many days.
From 1993-1996 Mr de Graaf studied illustration at Dawson College in Montreal. After years of full-time and part-time illustration work, he has devoted himself entirely to painting since 2005.
He cites diverse influences ranging from M.C. Escher to Johannes Vermeer, but says that watching a local illustrator demonstrate painting with acrylics inspired him to develop his unique style.
Mr de Graaf told Poets & Artists magazine that his paintings are about creating the ‘illusion of verisimilitude’, filtered through his own vision of the world.
‘Though I use photographs as the image source, my goal is not to reproduce of document faithfully what I see, but to create an illusion of depth and sense of presence not found in photographs,’ he said. –dm
‘Many of my paintings are about the relationship of light with reflective and transparent surfaces and my journey to understand those qualities and convey my sense of wonder and intrigue over them.
‘Lately I have been trying to imbue my paintings with a sense of narrative and lyricism.’ Mr de Graaf is represented by the Plus One Gallery in London and by Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal. DM