At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking you are looking at high resolution photographs of celebrities and models.
But these stunning pictures are in fact pencil etchings drawn by Borehamwood artist Jordan Dawson.
Known as ‘hyper-realism’, the technique produces detailed and refined drawings, paintings and sculptures that closely resemble shots taken by the humble camera.
The 21-year-old, who will shortly be going into his third year of a fine art degree at Chelsea College of Arts, has just unveiled his first solo show at The Reel Cinema in Borehamwood. On display are 21 of Dawson’s incredible creations, which can be viewed in the cinema foyer until 21 July.
Speaking about his art, Dawson revealed he was bullied at school for being overweight – until he was diagnosed with diabetes 10 years ago – and, as such, wanted to explore the importance of appearance in his latest work.
The former JFS pupil said: “I’m looking at how people judge others too quickly based on their appearance.
So, for example, I took photos from male fashion magazines and I drew them in the style of a mugshot.
You instantly get the perception that they are a bad person – but you only think that way, because it’s in the style of a mugshot, not who they are.”
His work has provoked interest on social media and prompted a comment from model Iskra Lawrence, which was seen by her 2.1 million followers on Instagram.
Explaining why his art made such an impact, Dawson says: “Iskra was turned away by many modelling agents because of her size, even though she’s only a 12, and she was categorized as a plus size.
She was eventually picked up by Aerie, the American Eagle underwear brand, and insists that her pictures are not Photoshopped in any way. Because of that she got bullied and received abuse.”
The Barnet Synagogue member also revealed he found solace in art after struggling academically at school and was only tested for dyslexia three years ago.
“I was always getting As and Bs, but I struggled. I remember in English class we had to read for the first 15 minutes, but I just remember staring at the book and I couldn’t concentrate,” he says.
Today, putting all his energies into his passion for art, Dawson says he is happy to sit at his desk perfecting his hyper-realist works, which – for his bigger pictures – can take hundreds of hours to produce.
“It depends on the size, but an ordinary piece can take 15 to 30 hours to finish. My picture of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt took me over 300 hours! I do time myself, but that doesn’t really come into consideration. When I’m drawing, I’m so relaxed and into my own world that the time just flies.”
Dawson hopes to replicate his detail in painting, as well as pencil drawings and is focused on finishing his art degree. There’s also talk of possibly one day collaborating with his brother, Alex, 24, who is also an artist and currently working on an adult cartoon series for Netflix.