pencils

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with pencils



Art

Textural Sculptures by Artist Jessica Drenk Use Junk Mail, Book Pages, and Q-Tips to Explore Materiality

October 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Dendrite” (2019), Q-tips and plaster. All images © Jessica Drenk, courtesy of Galleri Urbane, shared with permission

Montana-born artist Jessica Drenk (previously) employs simple materials, like shopping flyers and standard No. 2 pencils, to create organic sculptures that are chaotic and arresting explorations of the substances themselves. Bundled Q-tips spread across a site-specific installation like the roots of a tree, a carved section of plywood reveals concentric patterns, and strips of junk mail are plastered together in long waves.

While Drenk’s latest series, titled Transmutations, is diverse and ranges from wall pieces to cavernous sculptures, each artwork explores materiality and how disparate shapes and textures combine to create forms that are new both physically and conceptually. The artist explains in a statement:

In treating everyday objects as raw material to sculpt, I practice a form of conceptual alchemy: through physically manipulating these objects their meanings become transmuted. Each piece is a direct response to material—a subversion of the meanings associated with it, and a reference to the life cycle of objects through time.

If you’re in Dallas, Transmutations is on view at Galleri Urbane through October 31. Otherwise, follow Drenk’s textural works on Artsy, and watch an interview with the artist at her studio below.

 

“Contour 3” (2020), carved plywood, 47 x 38 x 3 inches

“Implement 68” (2020), pencils, 22 x 18 x 17 inches

“Cerebral Mapping” (2020), books and wax, 132 x 80 inches

“Compression 3” (2020), books, wax on wood panel, and wood frame, 44 x 38 x 2 inches

“Dendrite” (2019), Q-tips and plaster

Top: “Aggregate 3” (2020), junk mail, 28 x 130 x 2.25 inches. Bottom: “Aggregate 2” (2020), junk mail and plaster, 20 x 78 x 2.5 inches

Left: “Circulation 18” (2020), books and wax, 31 x 29 x 1.5 inches. Right: “Circulation 19” (2020), junk mail and cardboard, 36 x 36 x 1.5 inches

 

 



Photography

A Sharp Look at the Surprisingly Complex Process of Pencil Manufacturing by Photographer Christopher Payne

November 13, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Christopher Payne /Esto

Photographer Christopher Payne (previously) spent several years building a relationship with the owners of General Pencil Company in Jersey City, New Jersey, one of the last remaining pencil factories in the United States. His dedication to working with the factory paid off, and between fall 2015 and summer 2017 Payne was granted access to the production floor for photo-documentation more than thirty times.

The photographer, renowned for his cinematic images that show the architectural grace of manufacturing spaces, shares that he has held a lifelong fascination with design, assembly, and industrial processes. “The pencil is so simple and ubiquitous that we take it for granted,” Payne tells Colossal. “But making one is a surprisingly complex process, and when I saw all the steps involved, many of which are done by hand, I knew it would make for a compelling visual narrative.”

Payne received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture, though he has long focused on photography in his professional life. He has published three books and exhibited his work widely, most recently at the Wellcome Collection in London, U.K. and the Museum of the City of New York. You can see more of his work on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 



Design

A Series of Japanese Benches Showcase How Pencils Are Made

August 7, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Images via @pomo

A series of benches that surround the Mitsubishi Pencil headquarters in Tokyo give step-by-step instructions for how the brand’s pencils are made. The concrete and wood furniture dot the perimeter, adding a creative touch to the public space just beyond the company’s walls. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Design

Colored Pencils That Sharpen Into Symbolic Japanese Flowers and Plants

January 11, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Japanese Designer Toshihiro Otomo has designed a set of flower-shaped colored pencils that delicately shed their petals when sharpened. The writing utensils were inspired by the shape and color of Japan’s most symbolic plants, which include dandelions, bellflowers, and cherry and plum blossoms.

The pencils are made at an environmentally-conscious factory in Japan, and manufactured from recycled paper pulp. The set of five comes packaged inside a minimally designed pentagonal box which is currently available in Spoon & Tamago’s online shop.

 

 



Craft

A Floating Coffee Cup Pours a Rainbow of Liquid Pencils

December 28, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Texas-based artist and maker Bobby Duke runs a popular YouTube channel where he posts a variety of art and craft videos on stone carving, sculpting, and painting projects. His latest piece was the creation of a fun floating cup that appears to pour a splash of liquid pencils. Duke is auctioning the final piece on Ebay with part of the proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

 

 



Art Design Photography

The Secret Life of the Pencil: An Abstract Portrait Series of Today's Creatives as Seen Through Their Pencils

November 8, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Celia Birtwell

Photographer Mike Tinney and industrial designer Alex Hammond were discussing the current state of technology and creativity when they had an observation: with enormous advances in technology, client demands for speed and quick turnaround often venture into the unreasonable leaving precious little time for thinking, sketching, or ideation. Despite advancements in software, the duo found that pencils remained central to their own process of formulating ideas and began to wonder if this held through across creative industries.

“The pencil and its ability to bridge the gap between hand and paper so effectively makes it exceptionally powerful, and as we’ve found, still much loved amongst the creative heroes of our generation,” shares Hammond. As they reached out to other established artists, designers, and photographers they began to request writing utensils to photograph using a special setup. “For each pencil we art directed the shoot to have a very subtle ‘nod’ to them or their work. When that wasn’t suitable, we let the pencil they had chosen to represent them talk for itself, documenting them in their purest form.”

Tinney and Hammond gathered the pencil portraits together in the new book The Secret Life of the Pencil available worldwide through Laurence King.

William Boyd

Dave Eggers

Tracey Emin

Thomas Heatherwick

Henry Holland

Anish Kapoor

Nick Park

Gerald Scarfe

David Shrigley