Artist Alessandra Maria uses tools like graphite, gold leaf, and black ink to produce her intriguing portraits. In addition to these traditional materials, she has an unconventional surface that she works on – coffee stained paper. The dark brown ground offers an entry point for these characters, and the gray pencil adds a soft touch to her realistic-looking figures.
Gold leaf is seen here as an accent for the butterflies, flowers, and intricate details. Their drawing style and symbolism conjure fairy tales and other fantastical stories. While there’s a lot of luscious, life-like drawing, the characters often have a blank stare. It’s hard to determine what they’re thinking, which makes Maria’s compositions all the more alluring. Here, beauty is a facade for a deeper, potentially darker below.
At first glance, the artwork of Alexandra Bastien appears to be photographs of a nude woman with a variety of skulls. However, the artist unbelievably renders her hyper-realistic drawings from layer upon layers of color pencil. Bastien’s astonishing ability to create such incredibly detailed drawings allows her to beautifully show the human body in a state of transition. The heavy symbolism that has long been attached to the skull in art history represents death. Bastien illustrates this concept in contrast to the soft, warm body of the nude woman. The women in her work are holding the skulls, embracing whatever darkness they may bring. In one drawing, both skull and human have even merged together in perfect balance. This balance of life and death is shown in a state of transition and transformation, exploring themes of rebirth and the afterlife. Seeing the many different skulls amongst a human in its natural state may be reminiscent to human origins and ancestry.
Bastien’s incredible, artistic skill and talent can be seen in this photorealistic series titled Taming the Beast. She finds inspiration in her natural fascination with the human body and form. The accomplishments of this Canadian artist are just as impressive as her skill. Her work has been included in several publications and magazines as well as been exhibited all over the world.
Carl Krull uses repetitive lines to form hidden faces revealed between the lines. Each drawing contains endless line after line that flows across the composition in waves, drips, and swirls. The organic rhythm created is quickly interrupted by different shifts in its pulse, not unlike a line in a heart rate monitor. It is incredible how the orientation of the lines create such different effects, resembling the texture in tapestries or the grooves and patterns in a topography map… but only if the hills and mountains depicted were in the shape of faces! In fact, Krull’s large-scale drawings have been referred to as “human seismographs.”
Amazingly, the Danish artist came up with this technique by drawing lines during a road trip across the United States with his wife, acting as a “seismograph” would. Each bump, twist, and turn of the drive was incorporated into drawings, which are included in his series Scroll Drawings.
Krull’s work, created entirely from graphite lines, takes the human body form to a whole new level by letting the negative space between his lines to let the eye create the shape. Each bend in the line creates a rift in space in which you cannot tell whether the form is concave or convex. His drawings are as mysterious as they are intriguing, as they defy laws of space and gravity. The faces and appendages emerging from a sea of graphite mesmerize you while you search for more figures amongst the methodical chaos. The massive size of Krull’s drawings further pull you into the hypnotic repetitiveness of each composition, with figures that materialize right before your eyes.
Indivisible is a series of graphite and charcoal portraits of multiracial women done by artist Samantha Wall. According to Wall, it is a study to understand her own dual ethnicity and capture subtle human expressions which transcend gender or race. By working with these women she was able to delve deeper into not only her own multiracial skin but also into others and in the process study the facial movement of each subject. To Wall, this was particularly important because as a multiracial person she related to the theories of Paul Eckmann who claimed that no matter what the background; financially, sexually, racially etc. certain human emotions could be universally understood through facial expression. However, at the time of her research, Wall was interested in emotions that could not be conveyed through facial gestures such as shame. Wall says as a child growing up in Korea and then the U.S. she felt a lot of shame which was a result from her mother’s set of Korean values.
The drawings in Indivisible are a cathartic look at women like Wall who may or may not have experienced the same feelings. It captures different emotions through subtle use of line and gesture bringing the essence of each person to the forefront. Part of Wall’s process was taking dozens of digital photographs of the women she met with, then studying those pictures to make her delicate yet powerful drawings. The end result is a sensitive look at these diversely beautiful women. (via illusionscene360)
Artist Ryan Salge’s monochromatic drawings are of surreal scenes that feel like dreamscapes. The tightly-rendered compositions feature expansive outdoor worlds and figures that traverse through them. Often times, the men and women in them are as curious as we are. Their backs are turned towards us, and it’s as if we’re on the journey right along with them.
There’s always something a little strange or alluring in each of Salge’s drawings. A woman looks up to dark, swirling sky as a small patch of light shines through. Another work features bodies rising upwards into the atmosphere. And, in an especially eerie piece, a barefooted man peers down as a spotlight shines onto a desolate field. (Via Lustik)
LOL, I have so many visas, would you like to marry me? No kidding, Leonard Combier. He takes ordinary passports and transforms them into a magnificent compact world of intrinquite drawings, quotes, tiny details and intertwined stamps. Depths of ink cover these passports with Gotham Googly looking characters with large bubble eyes.
His carefully calculated doodles are constructed with hundreds of shapes, forcing you to take a closer look at the passport and dissect the different stories. Eyeballs are common throughout his drawings and staring back at you-makes sense on a passport. This circus spectacle must be a sight for customs officer!
Austrian artist Stefan Zsaitsits draws portraits in pencil that are simultaneously nostalgic and strange. The alluring images often feature surreal moments that are from a child’s point of view and a deranged mash-up of characters, places, and frantic mark-making.
There are small comforts in Zsaitsit’s work, like the warm-toned graphite coupled with moments that highlight the joys of growing up. Some characters play with toys and imagine pleasant, beautiful things. Other times, Zsaitsits depicts children and their nightmares. Dark combinations of desolate scenes are ravaged by scary animals and enemies.
Through visual layering of these characters, the artist indicates that many of these images are seen in the mind’s eye. In the drawings, they’re contained within the body or its direct gaze. Zsaitsits’ symbolic works are a darker, more modern-day version of a child’s Boogie Man, and ripe for interpretation by the viewer. (Via Faith is Torment)
Swiss artist and illustrator Christo Dagorov’s series Lips features surreal drawings of – you guessed it – human lips. Although they mimic the shape, Dagorov transforms them with textures that you wouldn’t see on someone’s face. The artist uses pencil to create a forest, prison, and even a group of naked bodies.
If the series wasn’t titled Lips, there’s a chance you might not realize that they are the subject of Dagorov’s drawings. He covers their supple surface with his own imagination and effectively turns them into tiny landscapes with short, narrative tales. But, because know they are intended as lips, it adds another layer of intrigue. These images represent a story that’s being told and a visual way to signify words coming off lips. (Via Colossal)