Arinze Stanley

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Art

Hyperrealistic Portraits by Arinze Stanley Glorify the Resiliency of Nigeria’s Next Generation

September 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Portrait of Resilience #1″(2021), charcoal and graphite on paper, 47 1/2 x 36 inches. All images © Arinze Stanley, courtesy of Corridor Contemporary, shared with permission

In Deconstruct, Lagos-based artist Arinze Stanley (previously) acknowledges the children and teens who will come to define Nigeria’s politics and culture in the next few years. “I believe the youths are the building blocks of every nation,” he says. “I feel most compelled to project the positive image of our youths through this body of work in my attempt to dismantle the stereotype around the Nigerian youth. I believe our leaders of tomorrow are the biggest assets of today.”

Working in graphite and charcoal on paper, Stanley renders hyperrealistic portraits of earnest figures often with faint lines bisecting their faces. Portions of their torsos reveal a brick backdrop, suggesting that their consciousness and presences in the world are still taking shape. More dense works like “Fruits of Labour” draw on art historical motifs traditionally associated with power and resiliency, portraying figures in glorified poses with weapons and arms raised in protest. The incredibly detailed portraits rail against the turbulent political landscape of Nigeria, the world’s perception of the country, and its issues with police brutality, the latter of which the artist generously speaks to in a 2021 interview with Colossal.

Deconstruct is on view now at Corridor Contemporary in Philadelphia. Stanley often shares clips of his works-in-progress, which you can find on Instagram.

 

“Portrait of Resilience #5” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 65 x 55 inches

“Unwritten Memoir” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 47 5/16 x 41 7/8 inches

“Portrait of Resilience #3” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 46 3/4 x 47 1/16 inches

“Fruits of Labour” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 72 x 54 1/2 inches

Left: “Portrait of Resilience #4” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 49 1/2 x 31 7/8 inches. Right: “Portrait of Resilience #2” (2021), charcoal and graphite on paper, 41 x 29 1/2 inches

“Portrait of Resilience #6” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 17 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches

“Portrait of Resilience #7” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 17 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches

 

 



Art Colossal

Interview: Arinze Stanley Speaks to the Indelible Impact of Police Brutality and How Extreme Emotion is the Key to Change

May 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Bullets and Denim #2” (2020), charcoal and graphite on paper, 30 x 26 inches. All images © Arinze Stanley, shared with permission

For the past few years, Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley (previously) has been at the forefront of hyperrealism with his powerful and sometimes surreal portraits that are arresting in size and emotion, which he discusses in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. His charcoal-and-graphite works are rendered in stunning detail and bear broader political messages, particularly in relation to state-sanctioned violence and his own experiences suffering from police and military brutality.

What people don’t recognize about Bullets and Denim is that the artwork shows emotion on all parts, but if you have a gunshot to your head, you should be dead, right? Well, these people in the photo are not dead. That encapsulates the concept of endurance in general. Even as we try to stitch the patches of our reality, I want people to see that, that we’ve had it to the head. Enough is enough. It’s a visual representation of enough is enough because from here onwards is death.

Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert joined Stanley for a conversation in March 2021 about how he brings his subjects to points of extreme frustration, the ways his drawings resonate with different audiences around the globe, and how he envisions his artworks as catalysts for meaningful change.

 

“The Machine Man 1” (2019), pencil on paper

 

 



Art

Hyperrealistic Portraits by Artist Arinze Stanley Reflect the Emotions of Black Experiences

September 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Mindless #3.” All images © Arinze Stanley, courtesy of Corey Helford Gallery, shared with permission

Arinze Stanley describes his hyperrealistic drawings as “a simple language of my feelings.” In a statement about his new series titled Paranormal Portraits, the Nigerian artist (previously) says he uses his art as a form of political activism and as a way to amplify the voices of those who are unheard. Stanley notes that the relationships he fosters with his subjects are complicated and more often a reflection of himself:

In my opinion, artists are custodians of time and reality, hence why I try to inform the future about the reality of today, and through these surreal portraits seen in my new body of work, Paranormal Portraits, navigate my viewers into what is almost a psychedelic and uncertain experience of being Black in the 21st Century.

Using graphite and charcoal pencils, Stanley draws with such detail, capturing a stray hair or glimmer of beading sweat. Whether featuring a subject wrapped in hands or dripping in paint, the monochromatic portraits are intimate, expressive, and “born out of the zeal for perfection both in skill, expression, and devotion to create positive changes in the world. I draw inspiration from life experiences and basically everything that sparks a feeling of necessity,” Stanley says.

If you’re in Los Angeles, Stanley’s work will be on view at Corey Helford Gallery starting October 3. Otherwise, head to Instagram and check out this video from Great Big Story capturing his deftly rendered artworks.

 

“The Machine Man #7”

Left: “People and Paper #1.” Right: “The Machine Man #6″

“Paranormal Portrait #3”

 

 



Art

Hyperrealistic Drawings by Arinze Stanley Capture Surreal Moments and Powerful Emotions

October 25, 2018

Andrew LaSane

Black Noise, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Self-taught Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley (previously) is a wizard when it comes to putting charcoal and graphite to paper. The artist creates hyperrealistic portraits at a scale just larger than life, spending hundreds of hours detailing his subjects’ skin, hair, and sweat so that the works are nearly indistinguishable from black and white photographs. The artist recently opened a solo exhibition of new drawings at Jonathan LeVine Projects in New Jersey titled Mirrors, which seeks to pull viewers in so that they can connect with and see themselves in the subjects.

From new takes on familiar works like in Negro Mona Lisa (below), to drawings with more surreal elements like Black Noise (above), the emotion that Stanley is able to depict in the faces and gestures is compelling even from a distance. Getting up close to one of his pieces adds to its weight, as the viewer’s brain tries to reconcile the amount of labor that went into each work.

In an artist statement on his website, Stanley explains that his art is “born out of the zeal for perfection both in skill, expression and devotion to create positive changes in the world.” In a press release for his current exhibition he tells Jonathan LeVine Projects that the process of drawing is “like energy transfer,” and that by transferring his energy through graphite, each blank piece of paper becomes art. Mirrors is on view through November 11 at the gallery’s space at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey. You can see more of his portraits on Instagram.

 

Negro Mona Lisa, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Faustina, 2018. Arinze Stanley

A Lady in Black, 2017. Arinze Stanley

Losing Dream, 2017. Arinze Stanley

Mindless, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Mirror 000, 2018. Arinze Stanley

Painful Conversations, 2018. Arinze Stanley

 

 



Art

Larger-Than-Life Hyperrealistic Portraits Rendered in Graphite and Charcoal by Arinze Stanley

March 23, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Till He Comes, 2017. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley works with graphite and charcoal pencils on large sheets of cartridge paper to render enormous portraits of his subjects. Spending upwards of 200 hours on an artwork, Stanley agonizes over the most minute details of each piece to painstakingly capture reflections of light, droplets of sweat, or tangles of hair.

Where some hyperrealistic artists lean towards idealized perfection, Stanley instead focuses on pure realism, infusing portraits with a raw sense of emotion and drama. The scale of each piece, always slightly larger than life, adds an uncanny three-dimensional aspect.

Stanley recently exhibited work at Omenka Gallery and you can see more of his works (and pieces in progress) on Facebook and Instagram. (via ARTNAU, Juxtapoz)

 

Till He Comes, 2017. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

Till He Comes, 2017. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

Till He Comes, 2017. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

INSOMNIA, 2017. 27″ X 42″. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils on Strathmore 300 Bristol (smooth) paper.

INSOMNIA, 2017. 27″ X 42″. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils on Strathmore 300 Bristol (smooth) paper.

INSOMNIA, 2017. 27″ X 42″. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils on Strathmore 300 Bristol (smooth) paper.

Desolation, 2016. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

Desolation, 2016. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

FAMISHED (Disturbia series), 2016. Progress photo.

FAMISHED (Disturbia series), 2016. 26″ x 36″. Graphite and charcoal on Cartridge paper.

Innocence, 2016. 33” X 23.4″. White and black charcoal pencils and graphite pencils on Lambeth Cartridge paper.