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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 Illustration

Illustrations by David Alvarez Reflect the Intersection of Fantasy and Reality

December 14, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images © David Alvarez, shared with permission

When working in black and white instead of a muted color palette, Mexico-based artist David Alvarez (previously) manages to still create illustrations rich in texture and contrast. Layers of graphite and charcoal on white and cream colored paper form complex shadows. Highlights emerge from the negative space and become the light on stone walls, on faces, and on glowing wings and shiny armor.

The depictions of creatures from myth and fantasy are personal projects from Alvarez’s notebook that have been reworked at random over time. “There is an attempt to represent how humanity moves, how it thinks, how humans are in collective,” he tells Colossal. “A jumble of undivided people who move by reflex and without autonomy.” The new drawings of little girls, stone pillars, and soldiers are illustrations for an as yet unpublished book that the artist says is about “social pressures and the search for freedom.”

You can see more of Alvarez’s contemplative work on Instagram and purchase prints of his illustrations via his Etsy shop.

 

 



Art Illustration

Hybrid Graphite Drawings by Mateo Pizarro Merge Animals and Humans with Unexpected Obstacles

February 21, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Colombian artist Mateo Pizarro (previously) is inspired by contradictions. His graphite drawings combine animals with elements of human creation, merging nature with technological advancements or conflicting scenes. A four-winged goose resembles an airplane propeller while an ostrich walks around with a lightbulb as a replacement for its small head and beak.  “Drawing these fantastical animals I have come to realize that the beasts that do exist are just as surreal [as those imagined]: a giraffe or an armadillo is just as improbable as any winged horse,” Pizarro tells Colossal.

His work is included in a group exhibition of works on paper titled Lenguajes en Papel which runs through March 7, 2019 at El Museo Gallery in Bogotá, and his solo exhibition An Anthology of Catastrophes at Heart Ego Contemporary Art in Monterrey runs through April, 2019. You can see more of Pizarro’s drawings on Instagram and Behance.

  

 

 



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

The Human Figure Takes Shape in New Steel, Graphite, and Gypsum Sculptures by Emil Alzamora

September 19, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

The human figure is the through line of sculptor Emil Alzamora‘s emotive work previously covered both here and here. The body’s many poses and positions are explored in his multi-material practice which uses gypsum, graphite, stainless steel, and more to create his often life-size works. “I like to explore both material and form as well as the seemingly infinite sculpting processes to discover new visual narratives about life and art,” he tells Colossal. “Sometimes I will distort the figure, or encapsulate it or erode it depending on the material and the feeling am looking to capture.”

Alzamora is a British citizen born in Peru, who was raised in the United States and Spain and now lives and works in New York City. He will have upcoming solo exhibitions with Pontone Gallery in London next May, and Krause Gallery on New York City’s Lower East Side in the fall. You can see more of his sculptural works on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow

January 26, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Ethan Murrow (previously) creates large-scale graphite drawings of fictionalized heroes set against the deserted landscape of the American Southwest. His work presents these figures in confusing and illogical acts, a critique that addresses America’s habit of manipulating key moments from historical events.

“Through a mash-up of images,” said Murrow in an artist statement, “I hope to cut away at the neat and tidy narrative of progress and domination and create moments that deal with the abundant misinformation, deep confusion, genuine absurdity and billowing mass that has always kept this country on its toes.”

Murrow currently teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston at Tufts University. He has an upcoming solo exhibition of his monumental drawings at the Currier Museum of Art in the fall of this year. You can see more of his graphite works on his Instagram and website.