With a creative career that has spanned more than a quarter-century, Sebastian Krϋger has established himself as a promoter of New Pop Art whose objective is committed to unravelling the conundrum of identity and portraiture.
His portraits are a benevolent but subversive tribute to the superficial, and to the rock and pop culture of the sixties with which he has crafted an almost ritual relationship.
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Sebastian Krϋger was born in Hamlin, Germany on 30th June 1963. His interest in illustration began early, at the age of three, when he became obsessed with drawing the character of Donald Duck as he had seen in Disney movies and cartoons. Studying and memorising the images, the young Krϋger would quickly run home to draw it. A talent that would later become essential to his work, he trained his artist’s mind to observe and memorise specific details in order to retain an accurate impression of his subject.
After studying free painting at the Braunschweig University of Fine Arts, he made an early career painting cover artwork and inlays for video cassette movies, and as an illustrator and creative designer of LP covers. His reputation grew as the designer of a number of cover spreads for the German Press. A master of the craft, Krϋger has since painted the cover artwork for magazines including Stern, Spiegel and Rolling Stone.
Turning away from commercial work in order to devote himself to free painting, Krϋger moved away from a stylistic ‘star caricature’ aesthetic into New Pop Realism, a genre his works have come to define. Kruger’s works range from pencil drawings, to near abstract paintings and the photo-realistic . His primary medium of acrylic paint enables him to craft paintings that are hyper-realistic in detail, but also somewhat grotesque in their distortion of bodily form.
Exploring a more psychological arena, Krϋger began to play with the interaction between identity and portraiture, looking to reveal in his paintings something that which is both authentic and fictional. He calls his art a “kind of game of deception”. His most popular works include depictions of familiar cultural characters like the members of the Rolling Stones (his longtime friends), Steve McQueen and Louis Armstrong.
Though the foundation of most caricatures may rest in the exaggeration of the subject’s features, Krϋger often ignores the obvious, and focuses on more subtle aspects. Using the subtleties of colour and perspective, he conveys the essence of his subject in a most profound and amusing fashion. Despite sometimes-maniacal morphs, Krϋger approaches his subjects with a clear respect and sincerity.
Actively exhibiting since 2006, Krϋger’s works have been shown around the world, between Gronau (Germany), London, Santa Monica (California) and New York. His first book, FACES, was published in 2008, receiving praise from reviewers and critics for the versatility of his creative interpretation. A second book, FACE2FACE followed in 2015, featuring over 140 full colour images of his most iconic paintings, many of which depict Keith Richards. His art is celebrated as a must-have for all fans of celebrity and pop culture.
Sebastian Krϋger lives and works between Hanover, Germany and California, USA.