Powerful and Emotive, Artist Patrick Onyekwere's Hyperrealistic Portraits Are Rendered Meticulously in Ballpoint Pen
Patrick Onyekwere imbues his photorealistic portraits with layers of emotion. Before sketching with blue, ballpoint pen, the Nigerian artist invites his subjects into a conversation about their lives, contemporary culture, and nature to establish the mood or story he’s hoping to convey. Their responses produce a collaborative endeavor that organically merges their perspectives and histories, which the artist translates to his artworks.
Onyekwere collects a few snapshots of his subject for reference as he meticulously shades and crosshatches every inch of his hyperrealistic pieces. The artist sees his powerful renderings as “speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves” and finds the subjects’ eyes most interesting. “They mirror some of our deepest desires, fears, inhibitions, perceptions, thoughts, most of which we ourselves are consciously unaware of,” he says. “(The eyes have) the power to convey emotions and feelings and also communicate and connect to the viewer, inviting them to live in an untold story, in such a way they don’t see an already existing piece but take part in the creation of it.”
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Tucson-based artist Albert Chamillard (previously) spends hours, if not days or weeks, crosshatching cylinders, sliced cubes, and three-dimensional arrows. Rendered on vintage ledgers and graph paper, each geometric shape relies on the density of the artist’s pen markings to create works that appear to stand straight up off the page.
Chamillard describes his process as absorbing, often occupying him for hours at a time as he meticulously draws line after line. “A much longer process is developing the drawing in pencil first so it looks ‘right,’ meaning it fits within the page and balances the shape and looks like it belongs there,” he says. “Composition is a huge part of my work, and if it doesn’t fit on a page correctly, I won’t bother finishing it.” Despite being non-representational, the works also hold information like a diary or journal. “When I’m drawing, I thinking about everything else in my life, and usually title them in a way that conveys that snapshot of time for me, so I can look at my older drawings and know roughly what was going on.” The artist hopes to convey the necessity of devotion and patience in creative work.
Each monochromatic drawing has a meditative and hypnotic effect, and Chamillard’s fascination with light and shadow began in 2017 when he started rendering three-dimensional shapes. Since then, though, he’s shifted his intention. “I am currently focused on drawing fabric, specifically folded fabric, and translating it into drawings using the same crosshatching technique I’ve been using 6 or 7 years,” he says. “I’m also experimenting with larger drawings comprised of multiple sheets of ledger paper.”
Often sourcing his materials from thrift stores and yard sales, the artist tells Colossal it hasn’t been as easy to obtain old notebooks in recent years. “They have since become much more difficult to find, so I rely on Etsy if I want a specific one, and I’ve also had the benefit of strangers on Instagram sending me ones they find (If you have an old ledger you want to see go to a good home, please contact me!).”
To see more of Chamillard’s volumetric drawings, and perhaps to share some of those papers you’ve got piling up in the attic, head to Instagram.
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Artist Adam Riches uses pen and ink to create frenetic portraits of brooding anonymous figures. The monochrome illustrations emerge out of blank backgrounds, with broad, gestural lines skittering and looping across the paper. Often, pen drawings fall into two stylistic categories: contour drawings that capture the outlines and edges of their subject, or super-smooth ones that seem to defy the fine point of the pen with layered hatch marks. In forging his own style, Riches uses highly varied density in his mark-making to create volume and suggest shadows, while also utilizing each line as a distinctive shape. In a recent video interview with BBC, the artist explains, “the drawings are quite intuitive and are done spontaneously. They reveal themselves as I’m making them.”
Riches will be showing his work at PULSE Art Fair in Miami Beach in December, 2019, and his artwork is available for purchase through Nadia Arnold. See more of the artist’s scribbled portraits as well as his work in charcoal on Instagram and Facebook.
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Artist and illustrator Linsey Levendall constructs portraits by sketching hundreds of tiny patches of color, creating multi-hued landscapes that take the form of his subjects’ hair and skin. The prismatic works show a range of human conditions, capturing everything from deep introspection to pure bliss. Levendall shares with Colossal that his works are inspired by a wide collection of interests including Salvador Dali, animation, graphic novels, and Cubism. The artist grew up in Cape Town’s Cape Flats, however he now lives and works in rural Canada. You can see more of his portraits created in colored pencil and ink on Instagram and Behance.
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