Since I was small, I’d always been pulled in by paintings depicting the Madonna and Child. Long ago, I promised myself that I’d take a stab at religious motifs when my skill could only pose a compliment to the subject. This painting is based on a french postcard from the turn of the century. It was the practice of many photographers at the time to hire prostitutes for these commercial postcards. Given that, I wondered if this was indeed the woman’s child. The closeness seems too natural to be staged. And did the child grow up knowing his father or had he been forsaken?

I create art using custom software I program to meet my vision. So much I see in my mind’s eye would take hundreds of hours to complete by hand, slowing my prolific nature. In 2014, following a decade long day-job in web development, I began coding creatively, writing algorithms based on my ideas about art and design. After thousands of hours of programming, I’ve finally begun to make art with the software that’s become an extension of my mind and hand. I get asked why I don’t just use Photoshop like other artists. Photoshop is great, I tell them, but it doesn’t do nearly what I need it to do. Besides, I think art is best when it encompasses the totality of an artist’s life, experiences, and abilities. I’ve enjoyed nothing more than taking my work from canvas to digital, utilizing my maximum potential to accomplish the challenge.

Prints and an interactive exploration of the gigapixel painting are available through the artist’s website.

More info: mattkane.com

“What Child Is This?” by Matt Kane

Original postcard and preliminary sketch

Watch an exploration of the Gigapixel painting’s details