Folwell’s paintings are a form of realism and a style of painting known as Hyperrealism. While it is aspects of the everyday that act as the starting point and subject matter for Folwell’s work, he pushes these details one step further. The everyday is presented to us in such detail, that Folwell creates a new reality, one that is more vivid and precise than what actually exists. This is not to say that his work is surreal, rather the artist creates a convincing depiction of a simulated reality.
Folwell achieves his hyperreal rendering of life through the use of pencil under drawings, multiple layers of colour and a photographic depth of field. Textures, lighting effects and shadows are rendered with utmost clarity and Folwell’s focus on the detail of reality in each composition is what ties his subjects together. Folwell was the youngest student to be accepted into Elam at the age of fifteen. Having established a successful practice in New Zealand, Australia and France, Folwell returned to live in New Zealand in 2000 and now lives and paints in Coromandel town.