Real or fake?
Look very carefully before you reach out to take a sip: this Coke can is a deceptively real drawing by artist Howard Lee. When Journalist Anna Karolina Stock and photographer Robert Ormerod met him in England, for the Jaguar Owners Club, they too had to look twice...
Be it a can of cola or a chocolate Santa Claus, Howard G Lee draws everything, so life-like that you can't tell the original object from the drawing. On his Instagram profile, the British artist uploads pictures and videos showing two objects that look identical – but only one of them is real. "The art movement is called hyperrealism," says the 36-year-old. "It's a photorealistic depiction of reality – an exaggerated or even idealised reality."
In social media, his 'Fake or real?' pictures and videos have gained him a huge following: over 194,000 on Instagram and 350,000 on YouTube. People from all over the world see Lee's art, react to it, and most importantly, judge his work solely by its visual value — independent of any establishment.
Depending on the size and detail of the objects, it takes Lee several hours, sometimes several days, to create a hyper-realistic picture. "My famous hot dog took me four hours to draw," he says. "The chocolate Santa Claus, on the other hand, is much more detailed. It must have taken 13 to 15 hours." But even this pales in comparison to his largest project to date: a realistic drawing of the 2020 Jaguar XE. Here too, Lee has created an impressive illusion. "It was the longest time I've ever stood at an easel," says Lee. In total, it took him around 140 hours to portray Jaguar's sports saloon in all its facets – 50 of those for the XE's interior design alone.