Spanish artist Nuria Riaza uses bright blue ballpoint ink to create drawings of segmented faces and other surreal scenes, pieces that capture an expressive detail most would not associate with the everyday office supply. Riaza has been attracted to the medium since she was five or six, and fully dedicated herself to working with ballpoint pens since she was around 21-years-old.
The process is one of her favorite aspects of the medium, losing herself in the many hours it takes to finish each drawing. In addition to the blue ink, Riaza sometimes incorporates embroidery to give a warmth to the work, adding small details of gold or red thread to emphasize the surreal qualities of specific drawings. Despite branching out to experiment with other mediums, these elements are only ever a small part of her practice, ballpoint pen continuing to serve as her main inspiration.
“I recommend that you try and use the pen as something more than a writing tool—to eat it as if it were a toothpick, to make fake tattoos with it, to use them as rollers in your hair, and to draw a lot,” says Riaza in her artist statement. “It’s something almost therapeutic, like how people draw mandalas, and you learn that the mistakes are also beautiful on paper.”