Ilmar Kruusamäe (born 1957 in Tartu) is a painter, Estonian Artist Union member (1988) and founding member of the Kursi School of Art. He is the only one of the former slide photorealist in Tartu who has remained faithful to the technical methods of hyper-realism.
One of his favorite genres is portraits of his friends, Kruusamäe uses the principle of classical portrait art to point out the personality of the person portrayed. For that reason he often uses a symbolic background with a touch of surrealism, as well as literary titles. He has also maintained his love for details, theatricality and the grotesque. Due to that, we can still talk about Kruusamäe as a hyper-realist, only with reservations. Artists is interested in photographic effects, playing with light and focus.*
Prizes: Kristjan Raua art award (2008), Ado Vabbe art award (2007), Scholarship of Tartu Cultural Endowment (2003) Cultural Endowment of Estonia, yearly scholarship (2001), "Fax for Peace, fax for Tolerance", grand prix, Italy (2000), PISA 1999. I Biennial of small graphic arts and painting, diploma, Italy (1999), II Lorci Biennial „Citta Di Locri”, Italy, foreign artist award (1998), Osaka Painting Triennial, award by Osaka Contemporary Art’s Centre, Japan (1996), Maarja Gallery, Põlva, Estonia, grand prix (1995), III Baltic Young Artists Triennial, Nemuno Award, Vilnius, Lithuania (1985)
Works in collections: Art Museum of Estonia, Estonian Art Foundation, Tartu Art Museum (Estonia, Tartu), Centre for Humor and Satire (Gabrovo, Bulgaaria), Henie-Onstad Art Centre (Oslo, Norway), Osaka Centre for Contemporary Art (Japan), National Art Museum (Egiptus), Zimmerli Art Museum (USA)