Painting a hyper-realistic mural outdoors is challenging enough on its own, and artist Sean Yoro not only pulls off incredible portraits, he does it all while balancing on his surfboard. Known as HULA, the Oahu-born, NYC-based painter meticulously crafts stunning images of women onto waterfront walls. Each of the figures seems to be emerging from the surface, the rest of them unseen in the depths.
“Now entering the street art game. Better grab my surfboard, paints, and get as far away from the street as possible,” the artist jokes on Instagram. In the scant three days since he posted his first seaside mural image, Yoro’s work has exploded across the internet, as much for the quality of his paintings as for the unusual way in which they’re produced.
Yoro scouts locations at abandoned riverside sites where concrete meets the shimmering surface of the water. The rough, weathered surfaces provide a gritty backdrop for the photo-realistic imagery, making his subjects seem all the more otherworldly in comparison.
In some shots, mangled metal dangles down from partially demolished buildings as Yoro works, his paint cans set up on one side of his surfboard as he kneels in the center.
The series is entitled ‘Pu’uawai,” which means ‘heart.’ Of the first image he completed, Yoro says “This piece was inspired by the silence beneath the surface of the water, when all you can hear is your heartbeat as everything else fades away. It’s one of the many places I call home.”
See more on Yoro’s Instagram, @the_hula.