graphite

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Art Illustration

Graphite Portraits Distort and Intertwine Subjects to Visualize Metaphors of the Body

April 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Miles Johnston, shared with permission

Malmö, Sweden-based artist Miles Johnston portrays subjects whose figures are in states of flux, whether through fragmented bodies, multiplied faces, or limbs contorted into impossible positions. Often depicting Johnston (previously) or his partner, the graphite portraits distort typical anatomy in a way that balances the familiar with the unknown and visualizes the thoughts and emotions otherwise hidden inside the mind.

Whether set against a trippy backdrop or quiet beach, each piece portrays the experience of the body “through a kind of internal metaphorical language,” the artist says. He explains further:

We don’t directly experience the actual biochemical facts of what is happening in our bodies, hormones secreting, weird little proteins and neurons doing whatever it is they do. Instead, we have a whole language of expressions like stomach tied up in knots, feeling empty, torn in two, burning with anger, etc… I’m aiming for this sort of naive direct representation of what things feel like instead of a literal representation of how they look from the outside.

Keep an eye on Johnston’s site and Instagram for news on upcoming print releases and his latest works.

 

 

 



Illustration

Loneliness Shrouds the Peculiar Scenes in Carlos Fdez's Graphite Drawings

January 28, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Enlarged.” All images © Carlos Fdez, shared with permission

Through rich, brooding illustrations, Carlos Fernández, who works under the moniker Carlos Fdez, encapsulates lingering feelings of loneliness that cloud modern life. The blurred graphite veils each work with a surreal aura, layering the peculiar scenarios of sheep feasting on a wolf and distressed figures with mystery. “More than just being alone, the greatest loneliness for me is that feeling that nobody understands you, that you are only there, sometimes wonderful, sometimes terrifying,” Fdez writes.

The Madrid-based artist is included in an online show at Wow x Wow, which is up until January 29. He sells prints of his introspective drawings in his shop, and you can explore a larger collection of his work on Instagram.

 

“Herd Immunity”

“The Loop Man”

“Plague”

“Black Bile”

 

 



Art Illustration

Intense Emotions Overwhelm the Figures in Stefan Zsaitsits's Graphite Illustrations

December 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Stefan Zsaitsits

Despite their uncanny elements, the black-and-white worlds of Stefan Zsaitsits (previously) deftly encapsulate the ennui and angst of modern life. The meticulously cross-hatched scenes depict solitary figures in states of psychological stress as they wrap their bodies around docks, cry profusely, and find themselves stuck under a thundercloud. Some of the lethargic, anxiety-ridden figures literally are overwhelmed by the atmosphere or shown putting on a happy face.

Zsatisits recently compiled 21 illustrations in a collection titled Wherever, which is available for purchase on his site. All works are 21 x 21 centimeters and printed on 350 gram/meter² cardboard. Explore an extensive collection of his earlier pieces on Instagram and Behance, where he also shares a behind-the-scenes video of his process.

 

 

 



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.

  

 

 

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