This is NOT a Photograph!
Believe it or not, this is NOT a photograph. It’s the work of the incredibly talented airbrush artist Dru Blair from South Carolina.
This particular painting has been surrounded by controversy and disbelief as it’s made its way around the internet. It’s so realistic and so finely detailed that many people had trouble believing it is, in fact, a painting.
But Dru Blair, the artist responsible, is a well-known photo-realistic artist. He began the piece for a class, but finished it later on his own. His amazing airbrush art has been featured in hundreds of advertisements, magazines and book covers. Aviation art is a favorite subject for the artist, and his first aviation painting, “Power,” is the highest selling aviation print in the world. If you’re interested in learning this style, Dru Blair runs the Blair School of Art in Blair, South Carolina. Bio…
For anyone who argues that photorealistic illustrations reproduced from actual photos (like this one, which took 75 hours to complete; scroll through the page to see it through its various stages) can’t truly be called illustrations, airbrush artist Dru Blair has this to say:
As a style, Photorealism has a few detractors, who often dismiss it as pointless, or non-art. They fail to realize that many photorealistic paintings are not mere copies of photographs, but interpretations of reality based on the artist’s vision. The act of merely copying a photograph has no artistic merit except to hone one’s artistic skills. Most of my aviation paintings would be impossible to photograph [...]. This painting of Tica is not just a copy of a photograph, but is a product of many artistic decisions, whereas I deviated from the reference photo for more aesthetic appeal.
This is a painting completed in February 2005. It was a Portrait Class project that I decided to finish in my spare time after the workshop. It probably took a total of around 65-75 hours to complete. The small images are step by step photographs taken during the painting process, and the large image is the final painting after detail and skin texture are added with an eraser and colored pencil. The main colors are blocked in at the beginning, but refinement is withheld until the very end. ~ Dru Blair
Dru Blair was born in Newbern, NC., September 7. 1959 Growing up in Columbia, SC, his ambitions originally were directed toward a career in medicine. However, during his undergraduate studies at Furman University in Greenville, SC, he discovered an artistic ability. He switched majors his senior year and graduated in 1981 with a BA. degree in art. He later found employment in Myrtle Beach, SC. as an airbrush artist painting shirts. He continued his education at the University of South Carolina in Columbia earning a Masters Degree in 1984. He worked in Atlanta from 1985-1987 transitioning to commercial illustration.
In 1988 he won the National Airbrush Excellence Award, which ushered in a wave of commercial opportunities. The following year he produced his first aviation painting, "Power" which became the first of three Air Force Magazine covers and remains the number one selling aviation print in the world . Other aviation paintings followed the advent of his own publishing company, Blair Art Studios Inc.
Dru Blair is an Air Force Association Life Member, Honorary Member of the United States Air Force, Army Aviation Association of America Life Member, member of the North Carolina Association of Designers and Illustrators, member of the Air Force Art Program, member of the Graphic Artists Guild, Artist Fellow member of the American Society of Aviation Artists, and board member of the International Airbrush Association. He has been featured in television interviews and on dozens of magazine covers. His paintings can be found in hundreds of magazine and book publications. Commercial projects have included popular themes such as the Budweiser Bullfrogs . He has produced a half dozen instructional videos on airbrush techniques and is a featured lecturer at the World Airbrush Exposition. In March 1995 and 1996, he was the Guest of Honor at the International Airbrush Forum held in Germany which drew over 10,000 artists from around the world. He is the official artist for Star Trek: Voyager book covers, as well as several of the other Star Trek licensees. His clients include many of the top airlines and aerospace companies. Dru currently resides outside of Raleigh, North Carolina.
official website. drublair.com