KEEPiN’ iT REAL: John Pugh

Stayin’ with the theme of “Keepin’ it Real“, I want to showcase an artist that takes that saying to heart and really does a literal translation of that phrase: John Pugh.  Mr. Pugh simply has to be one of the biggest and baddest Trompe L’oeil (trick-of-the-eye) artists doin’ their thing today.  Don’t believe me? Check out these amazing 3D murals painted on the sides of buildings:

This one is located on Main Street in Los Gatos, CA (near my hometown!) And trip out on this: even the woman peering into the ruin is part of the mural.

Taylor Hall, CSU Chico.  Those lovely columns and the brick coming out at ya is all nothing but skillfully placed paint.  Party On!

Honolulu, Hawaii.  This piece took almost a year to do with the help of 11 other artists.  It features Queen Liluokalani, the last royalty of the Islands, and Duke Kahanamoku, who happens to be surfing royalty. This piece is not only an impressive size to behold, but it’s even weirder to think that the sightseers, the stairs they went up, and even the skylight are all fake and products of paint.  Just looking at the foam on the wave evokes the feeling that it’s about to splash at any moment.

Located at the Cafe Trompe L’oeil, San Jose CA (Yay!!)  This incredible piece is entitled, “Art Imitating Life Imitating Art Imitating Life.”  lol!  As advertised “This customer doesn’t leave at closing time. And, there is no doorway or stairs to go through or climb… and the statue never needs dusting.” Amazing.

Located in Twenty-nin Palms, CA.  The last time I was out that way there wasn’t anything there but only roads and desert; but seeking out this piece might be worth a second look out that way!  Everything you see here is painted, that means the bull, the buzzard, the wall the buzzard is sitting on, the artist, his scaffolding, even the scaffolding shadow!!! Yes, John Pugh is tricky to say the least. 😉

Sarasota County Health Center, FL.  Cruelty at its finest!!!  I’m sure plenty of poor people everyday in the Health Center make their way over to this bench and fountain for a little rest, only to find out all they can do is lean against this wall. 😉 John Pugh is so Good he’s BAD!!!

Santa Cruz, CA – “Bay in a Bottle”.  I know you don’t need me to tell you that the guy in the white coat, the lights, and even the cardboard boxes are all part of the mural.

Located in Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto CA.  This is the only Pugh I’ve had the chance to see in person.  This photo does not give you the true scale of this piece – it actually takes up the entire side of several buildings and resembles a real French neighborhood.

This one happens to be in Winslow AZ!!!  I don’t know what that little town did to get Mr. Pugh to grace it’s walls with this beauty, but they sure did something right.  As you might have guessed the windows, the people in the windows, the bird, even the damn truck driving by are all done by his hand.


the man himself, John Pugh

“By weaving the powerful story-telling abilities of the narrative mural into the engaging impact of the life-size trompe l’oeil illusion artist John Pugh has created a stimulating and enlightening venue for both public and private art. His murals have been instrumental in revitalizing the trompe l’oeil genre as a vital mode of artistic expression that is both aesthetically and intellectually challenging. By the synthesis of deception and enlightenment Pugh has legitimatised and expanded the horizons of the trompe l’oeil mural. He has created a truly monumental body of work and an artistic style worthy of its own descriptive expression: Narrative Illusionism.”   Kevin Bruce, author of the book The Monumental Murals of John Pugh


Wanna learn more?

visit his website!

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