Nigerian artist Oscar Ukonu is a master of the ballpoint pen. He wields the writing tool with such precision and skill that he is able to draw artworks that cannot be distinguished from high-resolution photographs.
The self-taught artist started drawing when he was nine-years-old, but only got intoÂ hyperrealistic artÂ during his time in architecture school. Up to that point, he had relied on the good olâ pencil, but the moment in tried the ballpoint pen for the first time, in 2014, he knew he had found the perfect tool to take his art to a whole new level.
He has been mesmerizing fans ofÂ hyperrealistic portraitsÂ with his incredible artworks ever since. Okonu describes his creative process as his process as âa practice in time and patienceâ, which makes sense, considering that each and every one of his pieces takes between 200 and 400 hours of work to completeâ
âYea, the photoshoot is an important part of my process. When I have an idea for a series or artwork I pen them down and sometimes flesh out a few sketches. Then what follows is photography where I take maybe 100 pictures and select about 10,â Oscar toldÂ Vsionvry. âWhen itâs time to put pen to paper I let these pictures inform me. What I mean by âinformâ is that I donât just use one picture: I use the whole photoshoot. That way Iâm able to take down all the different individual pieces andÂ maintain the fidelity of the initial idea I had.â
Although Ukonu sometimes doesÂ celebrity portraits, his work mainly explores black identity and pride, as well as ideas associated with Afrorealism.
âMost of the ideas I like to work with are related to African identities, socio-political and gender issues and the way they all come together to shape our identities of the African experience,â the artist said.
For more impressive ballpoint pen art, check out theÂ portraits of Alfredo Chamal, theÂ vibrantly colored drawings of Samuel Silva, and the photo-realisticÂ ballpoint pen art of Andrey Poletaev.
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