INSTAGRAM DISCOVERY: THE HYPER PHOTOREALIST DRAWINGS OF LUXURY OBJECTS BY AUSTRALIAN CJ HENDRY

by Marisa Marcantonio


Putting pen to paper, each oversized large-scale drawing, the 27 year old architecture school dropout Australian artist CJ Hendry creates takes over 100 hours to complete, and has made her an art superstar, thanks to Instagram. Working with iconic fashion brands, like Gucci and Prada shopping bags, her artwork has an unbelievable photo realism quality. The painstaking detail she captures with her pen so resembles the real thing it is difficult to tell the difference between her immense drawings and a photograph. Look closer though, and you will see each stipple is done with the fine point of a pen. I came upon her work on my Instagram feed, and immediately fell down the rabbit hole of her limitless talent. Her story is just as unreal as her work. She left architecture then finance school with no funds, sold her beloved high fashion wardrobe for quick cash and committed herself to drawing for 365 days to see how it went. She started to add her work on Instagram. After six months of this,  a large-scale drawing of a pair of stylish boots beloved by Australians sold to a collector whose daughter found Hendry on Instagram. She sold it for $10,000. That sale gave her the confidence to continue on her chosen artistic path. Discovered on Instagram by The Cool Hunter, all 6 of her large scale works that followed pre-sold before her first gallery show with Bill Tikos, its founder. She then created a piece, a 100 dollar bill with Kanye's face on it, managed to connect with his people and sold it to him while he was on tour in Australia.  Her exacting process entails photographing each inanimate object to capture different angles and light settings, and she will take hundreds of images in her "study" phase. She then sets out drawing, choosing the angle that captures the item in its best light. The stark contrast of black and white item and ground is captivating, and larger than life. She started with fashion-y things as a lover of luxury retail, like luxury fashion brands shopping bags worn from use, and has evolved her subject matter to cover swirly Hermes scarves and pieces of food on distinctively patterned Hermes china.  Her unique pieces sell out instantly and have achieved collector status, fetching thousands of dollars,. Here are some of her pieces that captivated by attention, found on Hendry's Instagram feed, 167,000 followers strong.

Images courtesy of CJ Hendry Instagram

Images courtesy of CJ Hendry Instagram

A perfect pineapple sits poised on Hermes Balcon du Guadalquivir china

The piece in progress shows Hendry's meticulous process

A fish extends beyond the borders of the Balcon du Guadalquivir patterned platter in a striking graphic way

The work being rendered

A graphic black and white scarf captured in an oversized larger-than-life format ampllfies the linear design

I love the juxtaposition of the natural world and the luxury realm with the Zebra on the wall looking over the artist

Pieces hung for Hendry's first show with The Cool Hunter

Rarely taking on subject matter that strays from the cult of luxury, she created a life like palm tree with eerily perfect accuracy

The piece she created and presented to Kanye West when he toured near in her hometown

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Taking on the meticulous endeavor,  she spends so many hours rendering each drawing that places a pillow under her arm to make it a more comfortable 

By taking so many photos of her subject matter before she starts drawing, she get an accurate sense of how to capture the items in their "best" state