Peter Combe Creates Mesmerizing Portraits Using Paint Swatches

by CaroPosted on

When we saw San Francisco based artist Peter Combe’s art at Scope Miami Beach earlier this month, we did a double take. From far away, his portraits of young men, which include icons like Mahatma Gandhi, are unassuming, looking more like photographs that have been blown up to a larger-than-life size scale. But upon close inspection, we realized that these tonal portraits were created using every day household paint swatches, carefully pinned into place, row after row, until a mesmerizing sense of realism is achieved. Combe’s three-dimensional works play with light, color and movement in a Pointillism-esque style, where small, circular jewel-toned swatches are placed together in precise arrangements that look like scales. As you walk around a piece, it suddenly transforms and the light and colors appear to magically change depending on your vantage point. There is a sort of fleeting moment that occurs as a result, similar to the images themselves, many of which are sourced from social media. “While working on these pieces, my favorite time of the day is the gloaming- it is at that time that the colors seem to come alive subtly yet rather dramatically at the same time- it becomes a still point for me as an artist. It is these characteristics that propel me forward,” Combe says.













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