John Pugh: trompe l’oeil master…

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18/07/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

John Pugh murals

John Pugh "Green Treasure" New ZealandTrompe L’oeil…”trick-of-the-eye”… is a painting style for the steel-hearted and courageous. Not quick to produce either – the masterpiece that is “Mana Nalu” (top left photo) took two months to plan in the studio and six months to paint.

The master artist is American John Pugh. John’s mural style has coined the term “Narrative Illusionism”. Wouldn’t that be fabulous to have a whole painting style named in your honour!

We even have one of John’s murals here in New Zealand (right). It graces the side of the Rotorua Library, and is titled “Green Treasure (He Taonga Kakariki)”, 12’W x 18’H.

In John’s own words:

It seems almost universal that people take delight in being visually tricked. Once captivated by the illusion, the viewer is lured to cross an artistic threshold and thus seduced into exploring the concept of the piece. I have also found that by creating architectural illusion that integrates with the existing environment both optically and aesthetically, the art transcends the “separateness” that public art sometimes produces.

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