Have you ever seen a painting that could very easily be mistaken for a photograph? If you haven’t yet, you are about to. Meet Kevin Moore, a high-definition realism painter from New Jersey. The artist shares a glimpse of his artistic journey and inspirations in the interview below.
Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Did you always have an interest in art?
I grew up and lived in Bridgewater, NJ until I was 22 years old. I have been drawing since elementary school, but it was in high school when I then rediscovered art as a passion and decided to pursue it as a career. I first studied at DuCret School of Art for two years, then left to study with Timothy Jahn at his atelier called Jahn studios for another two years and finally the last three years with Anthony Waichulis at Ani Art Academy Waichulis.
Is art something that you do full time? What are your goals for your art?
Since I started attending art school in 2007, I have been spending as much time as I can creating artwork.
In 2016 I was hired to run an atelier, Ani Art Academy America, and to teach a tuition-free, fully comprehensive drawing and painting program to United States veterans.
I am now able to put all my efforts into both, teaching art and producing my own work at the same time. My goals right now are- refining the look to my paintings to brand myself better. I still consider myself an emerging artist and I’m still doing a lot of experimental work to really find the best way to visually communicate with people.
Your paintings are incredibly realistic. How long did it take you to master this craft?
I’d say it was at least five years of full-time training before I really felt confident with what I was doing. I’ve heard it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to really master a skill and I’m sure it took me at least that amount of time. One of the most important things is being patient, my first drawing that came out very realistic took many months of work.
What did your drawings look like in middle school versus now?
In middle school, my drawings looked basically like any other kid’s drawing. During that period of my life I was more interested in skateboarding and punk rock than anything else. When I started art school, that is when I had the time to really dedicate myself to drawing. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old when I completed my very first drawing that had a hyperrealistic look.
What are some tips for beginners for sketching? What should one do for making a pencil sketch so real?
For beginners, I would say this: just focus on forming shapes, proportions, and shadow patterns. It all starts by getting the shapes accurate and values planned out. You can draw all the details you want in a portrait, but if the shapes and values are way off it won’t even look like the person your drawing.
What do artists see in people that others don’t?
I think that artists can sometimes see potential in people that they cannot see in themselves. So many people look at artwork they admire and say “I could never do anything like that.” After learning to paint and draw I have found that it has so little to do with talent, and everything to do with hard work, dedication, and good teachers.
What has been the happiest moment in your career so far? The saddest
“80 percent of life is showing up.” Success is always an incremental process. You have to consistently work hard at it for a long period of time to get real results. Even when you are making mistakes and getting knocked down, you have to keep showing up and working at it.
The happiest moment I can remember was when I sold my first oil painting. The exhibition was at the Pauly Friedman Gallery in Misercordia University. I wasn’t even expecting to sell my work there. Before I even made it to the opening, a friend called me to let me know that it had sold already. The surprise of the sale, the thought of someone hanging it in their home and loving it- was such an amazing moment that I’ll never forget.
I can not recall one specific sad moment, but many moments of frustration. Especially in the first few years. I had doubts that my work would not be good enough, that I’d never support myself with art and all of my time spent was for nothing. Maybe as a kid, I dreamed too big, but never trying at all will always be worse than failing. That’s what I decided in every low moment, and that’s why I never gave up.
What are you most afraid of right now?
Living too fast without living enough. There are just so many things to see, experience and learn in life, I always worry I won’t do enough. Time is the most valuable resource you can own and my biggest fear is to regret the way it is spent.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
The most influential people in my life have been my teachers, Timothy Jahn and Anthony Waichulis. They have taught me how to draw, paint, be professional, and survive as an artist. By studying under them I have learned not only the skills of producing artwork but having a good work ethic and taking as many opportunities as possible.