Delicate Balance Between Realistic Portraiture and Stylized Distortions

James Bullough is an American born artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. His studio paintings and huge monumentally scaled site-specific murals combine delicately handled realistic portraiture with harsh graphic distortion and abstraction. Staggering in their technical ability and attention to detail, James Bullough’s subjects in the latest series are fragmented and distorted with their bodies askew or, in some cases, ripped to shreds. Bullough’s photorealistic style also employs trompe l’oeil elements with several of the compositions appearing as paint that’s chipped and peeling from canvases. Scroll down and take a look at these marvelous pieces and don’t forget to follow Bullough on his Instagram Page for more inspiring art.

The emphasis on fragmentation is a driving force behind Bullough’s latest pieces.

“Gravity” All Image Credits, Instagram: james_bullough

“As is the case with most of my work,” he tells My Modern Met, “my inspirations and explorations are mostly technique-driven. I like to push myself with every painting to make something more interesting or complex or just different than the last painting.”


“It can be simply pushing the design and composition further, or working with more complex photos or more interesting models or just doing a better job with the actual painting of the image.”

“The Ghost in Me”
“Morning Light”

Bullough showcased his new work in a solo exhibition called Parallel Truths at the Thinkspace Projects in Culver City, California.


“I am actually presenting three different bodies of work which I’ve been developing over the past year and a half,” he explains. Each has its own point of view.

“Into Shadow”

“The first is my traditional fractured portraits but pushed a bit further in terms of composition and delicacy of the painting and level of detail,” he reveals.


“The second is my peeling portraits which give the feeling of the painting peeling off of the wall or the wall peeling away and revealing the portrait underneath.”

“Into the Ether”

“The third is what I’m calling ‘hidden words’ which is a spin-off from the peeling portraits but instead of revealing a portrait underneath the peeling wallpaper reveals a hidden word which you really have to work to find.”

“Love Hate”
“LA” via [mymodernmet]