What you're looking at is the work of a Houston-born artist, named Cheryl Kelley. She was born in the late 1960s, and grew up at the tail end of the original muscle car era. It makes sense, then, that when her artistic passion became a career, she focused most of her effort on muscle cars.

Take a good look here, because most of her oil-on-canvas paintings could easily be mistaken for an actual photograph.

Cheryl Kelley

That was actually her goal from the outset. These all started out as photographs Cheryl took at various car shows over the years.

Cheryl Kelley

She then takes her photos and paints them, which, in her words, makes them, "somewhat more real in the painting than their photographic predecessor."

Cheryl Kelley

Reflection on point. 

Cheryl Kelley

The way she sees it, manipulating the cars' reflection in each photo adds a depth you can't get from a photograph.

Cheryl Kelley

She also says it enables her to bring out each car's feminine lines.

Status: baller. 

Cheryl Kelley

The feminine lines are actually crucial to her overall point of the cars, so much so that there's a juxtaposition in that the cars, "seemingly fueled by raw testosterone, were ironically most definitely feminine in form."

Cheryl Kelley

Or, to put it a different way, she considers the car itself to be reality, and the world within the reflection to be fantasy.

Cheryl Kelley

She eventually expanded beyond muscle cars to do more classics and even a few European rides, but each one is still instantly recognizable as her work.

Cheryl Kelley

Of course, it's also possible to overthink it. At the end of the day, she's making gorgeous paintings from real photos of some of the most classic cars anyone would be proud to keep in his or her garage.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor, and can be found on Twitter. He'd love to see her paint historic race cars in action.

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