4 Artists Who Bring 3D Paintings to Life

Muses, Riusuke Fukahori - Goldfish Salvation // Dominic Alves via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Muses, Riusuke Fukahori - Goldfish Salvation // Dominic Alves via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0 / Muses, Riusuke Fukahori - Goldfish Salvation // Dominic Alves via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

These 4 artists go beyond simple two-point perspective to create three-dimensional effects with resin.

1. Ruisuke Fukahori

Awaya,Riusuke Fukahori - Goldfish Salvation // Dominic Alves via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

At first glance, Riusuke Fukahori’s paintings look alive. It’s not just because of their level of detail, though his goldfish’s scales and blood vessels are impressive. The fish also seem to be caught in motion, their bodies twisted just so to convey direction and speed. But of course these creatures are not alive. They’re not even sculptures, although they appear three-dimensional, and the paintings themselves have depth.

Fukahori’s fish are painted on layers of clear lacquer, each layer adding to the illusion of shadow or body. You can see the Japanese artist’s method in this video:

"Goldfish Salvation" Riusuke Fukahori from ICN gallery on Vimeo.

2. Keng Lye

Please don't eat me!, Keng Lye via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In Singapore, artist Keng Lye uses the same methods, but his painted animals go one step further—emerging from the water. This octopus looks ready to crawl out of his dish and take over the world.

Lye's work includes a variety of sea life and aquatica, which he features on his Flickr stream. This turtle's shell is particularly impressive. 

Live and let live, Keng Lye via Flickr //CC BY 2.0

3. Jessica Dunegan

there's a price to pay for having such a good imagination // Jessica Dunegan

Fukahori and Lye have received the most attention for this technique, but other artists use it to create completely different kinds of images. Boston-based Jessica Dunegan, for example, paints women in resin. While her subjects don’t look quite as three-dimensional or alive (which would be stunning but undeniably creepy), they have more of a sense of depth than a typical two-dimensional painting might.

You can see Dunegan’s process here:

Jessica Dunegan - Late Night Studio Visit from Jessica Dunegan on Vimeo.

4. Mark Schoening

the room // Mark Schoening

Los Angeles artist Mark Schoening uses the resin-layering technique for a more abstract subject. He paints “information explosions,” using resin to suspend lines and splatters of paint on different planes. His use of the technique makes you wonder what it might be like to see the two-dimensional paintings of Pollock or Kandinsky reimagined this way. Here he is in the studio:

mark schoening in the studio from Mark Schoening on Vimeo.

For those curious to try resin painting at home, YouTube is full of tutorials like this one. The technique also lends itself well to spacescapes and psychedelic marbling.