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November 18, 2015

Malisa Suchanya’s Black and White Pencil Portraits

graphite portrait

My small obsession this week is Malisa Suchanya's series of graphite portraits. Its cast of lovely ladies is diverse and expressive... plus, there's a handful of familiar faces in there. Suchanya says that she remains a lover for traditional art in a technological age, and her artwork proves it. When I first found her portraits, I had a hard time tearing my eyes away from all the immense graphite detail woven into the perfect textures for skin, hair, clothes, etc. She pays meticulously close attention to fine details, creating a super cool contrast between realistic faces and their more stylized surroundings. She sometimes posts progress photos on her Tumblr, so make sure to check that out too!

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October 28, 2015

Eerie Pen and Pencil Portraits

My thoughts are haunted by these monochrome sketches ever since I first came across them. I can’t get the images of malformed humans with oversized and tangled anatomy out of my mind. This seemingly endless portrait series is drawn with childlike abandon by Daniel Williams. Despite the simplistic, smudgy style, each rough line is drawn with purpose. There are so many of these odd little people that I can’t help admiring the artist’s ability to dream up countless characters with their own story to tell. If I had seen one of these human oddities on their own, I don’t think it would have fascinated me as much as seeing the consistency between every single one of Williams’ huge portfolio of drawings. It’s a mysterious effect that leaves me simultaneously impressed and uneasy.

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July 20, 2015

Heading Home

I'm having a moment over Michael Howard's Make Your Head Your Home series. It is a majestic mixture of architecture and portraits organically entwined with each other... and a good dose of flowers because why not? The illustrations are surreal, yet personally relatable. Any introspective artist can connect to the idea of living in your thoughts, or going to your mind palace. With the eclectic variety of faces and building styles, I'm choosing to imagine each person designing their own inner world into a sanctuary that is uniquely theirs, and proudly wearing it as a crown. With head space this extravagant, I wouldn’t want to leave my thoughts either. What would yours look like?

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June 6, 2015

James Roper: Double Exposure

James Roper has done a magnificent job in executing his goal in these graphite drawings. The description likens these portraits to headshots, "a must-have for any aspiring Hollywood actor" but the aim is to show the emotional depth of someone pursuing an acting career. Some may view this career path as a choice made by the vapid, the unrealistic, the dramatic and ridiculous. But my interpretation is that Roper shows how inaccurate this generalization can be by suggesting the form of a headshot with an unidentifiable pattern teeming beneath it, creating a double exposure effect.

Furthermore, this double exposure effect has beautiful results. The viewer is distracted by the intricacy and beauty of the pattern that they do not at first realize that the pattern is of nothing in particular. It has traces of architectural themes, feather-like line patterns, folds that could be fabric. We as viewers stare at the pattern, trying to find something that is, in fact, not there. It is ephemeral; it escapes us. It’s a reminder for us to stand back and enjoy the bigger picture.

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June 1, 2015

Character Studies

His new girlfriend loves wallpapers. And she told him that her last boyfriend did not even care. He has therefore set up a small workshop in the attic of his house. There he began to print floral wallpapers on his own - he wants to impress her. 

It's human nature to pay close attention to pictures and skip over text, but it feels incomplete to post these drawings without the description the artist writes for them. The endearingly quirky individuals are drawn by IVK Daily, an artist from Berlin who cares deeply about people’s private peculiarities. The rich inner life implied in these portraits makes me wonder if they are fictional characters with dreamt up oddities or examples pulled from real people the artist knows.

The black and white pictures are charismatic enough on their own to keep me captivated with the meticulous details in backgrounds and textures. I would still be asking myself burning questions about what their story could be, so it was a real treat for me to find that the artist includes a little teaser text about the subjects of their doodles. Just a little bit of info, but not too much—so I can still enjoy the strangeness and charm of these personal snapshots. I very VERY strongly suggest visiting ivkdaily’s blog and reading along, because the caption is half the story.

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May 31, 2015

Drawn Expressions on Wood

“A wooden expression” usually describes someone’s face as flat or stoic, but these wooden girls are expressing themselves much more shamelessly than that. Lantomo is an Italian artist with quite the collection of intriguing individuals populating her world of pencil and paint on wood. So many of these portraits look like a snapshot taken during a moment of strange emotion. Each girl almost appears animated, practically coming alive with her intense expressions. Lantomo says her drawings are “a diary of characters caught in the flat surface on which they are created, trying to get free.” Emotions are fleeting, so it feels special to see those split moments of raw feelings captured so evocatively.

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May 8, 2015

I Tried to Draw You Last Night

Brandon Vosika's series "I Tried to Draw You Last Night" feels like a tribute to friendship. He's caught his friends in natural poses; the drawings feeling as easy and sincere as a friendship should be. It's not a simple task to draw people who are close to you – you want them to see the thought and care you put into making something just for them.

Brandon's technique and use of materials is another aspect of these pieces that caught my eye. He's painting with watercolor but not on watercolor paper, hence the uneven wrinkling of the paper. Brandon's rejection of "proper" materials enhances the casual nature of the pieces. I love his varying line weight in each of the drawings. Shapes and forms are suggested, lines trail off into nothing - these are truly sketches, but as personal pieces and as a body of work, they feel like more than an afterthought dashed off on a scrap piece of paper.

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