Mark Powell

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Art Illustration

Monumental Ballpoint Pen Portraits Are Rendered on Vintage Collateral by Artist Mark Powell

August 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Mark Powell, shared with permission

From his Brighton-based studio on the seafront, Mark Powell (previously) pieces together crinkled book pages and postcards laden with travel dispatches. The vintage collages serve as backdrops for the artist’s oversized portraits of older folks, whose pensive stares and deep wrinkles are rendered gently in ballpoint pen. Often magnified, the subjects complement the weathered, ephemeral surfaces that span multiple feet. “I’m currently working on a series of larger works because they have much more impact on the viewer, more confronting yet comfortable I’m hoping. It is also much more tricky because by just using a ballpoint pen no mistakes can be made, and it would be a terrible shame to ruin a map, document, or letter that has survived hundreds of years only to be destroyed by me,” he shares with Colossal.

Each enlarged illustration—which sometimes depicts famous subjects, like Basquiat and Hunter S. Thompson— takes about a month to complete, and Powell generally works on more than one simultaneously. Recently, he’s started to slow down his artistic production as he shifts away from creating for dozens of shows every year. “The past two years, I’ve taken a step back from shows slightly to allow that evolution space to breathe. It has meant that the quality of the work has increased immeasurably (still much room for improvement of course),” he says.

Powell’s detailed illustrations will be included in an upcoming show at Hang-Up Gallery in London. Until then, dive into his repurposed projects on Behance and Instagram, and check out the available prints in his shop.

 

 

 

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Art Illustration

New Bic Ballpoint Pen Portraits on Vintage Maps and Stationery by Mark Powell

September 25, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Working atop faded street maps, vintage National Geographic magazine covers, and decades-old stationery, London-based artist Mark Powell (previously) draws the wrinkled contours of his subject’s faces with a standard black Bic ballpoint pen. The weathered portraits of both famous and anonymous people reflect his antiquated canvases both in texture and tone as he traces the topographies of their faces across literal street maps or paper materials that have traversed the world. Powell’s drawings have grown in both scale and detail over the years, magnifying the impact and density of each piece. You can see more of his recent work on his website where he sells a number of prints and quite a few originals. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Art Illustration

New Ballpoint Pen Illustrations on Vintage Envelopes and Maps by Mark Powell

March 1, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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It’s been a couple of years since we last checked in on Mark Powell (previously here and here), who produces ballpoint pen portraits and illustrations of birds and people on vintage envelopes. Recently Powell has expanded his practice to include old maps as another form of canvas, drawing detailed faces and bodies that are given texture by the haphazard roads and regions that comprise the United States or Paris.

Powell chooses to draw on paper with historical marks in order to imbue his works with a greater story, adding a deeper background to his subjects. “They compliment each other and I hope leads the viewer to wonder, and maybe create, a history for the two,” said Powell. “I rarely connect the portrait and ‘canvas’ as they are both strangers to me.”

Powell’s illustrations can take between a couple of hours and an entire month depending on the size of the surface and the detail given to his subjects. His upcoming exhibition, “Anthropology,” will open March 3 and run through April 10, 2016 at Hang-Up Gallery in London. You can see more of Powell’s drawings on his Facebook.

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Art Illustration

Birds Illustrated on Vintage Envelopes by Mark Powell

June 4, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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It’s been over a year since we last checked in with artist Mark Powell (previously here and here) who draws portraits and birds on old vintage envelopes. His works have become increasingly more detailed the last few months and I’m especially enjoying his series of birds. See much more here.

 

 



Art

Portraits Drawn on Vintage Envelopes by Mark Powell

March 30, 2012

Christopher Jobson

All images © Mark Powell

Though I just posted a selection of envelope drawings by Mark Powell about three months ago, the guy has been on an absolute tear the past few weeks, cranking out new portraits every few days, so I couldn’t resist sharing a few more with you. Powell executes each drawing with a standard Bic Biro pen using stamped and faded envelopes that traversed the European postal system more than a century ago. See more of his recent work here.