Nigerian artist Patrick Onyekwere proves that you don’t need expensive materials to create exquisite works of art. He uses the ubiquitous ballpoint pen to draw portraits in hyperrealistic detail. Their stunning three-dimensionality is immediately eye-catching; from the creases on the lips to the pores of the skin to the gleam in the eyes, no attention to detail has been spared.
Onyekwere has created a series called Circles of Hope that focuses on depicting the lives of Black men and women as “an endless maze” that is full of “twists and turns.” The incredibly realistic renderings represent more than just the artist’s skill. “I draw inspiration from identity and how identity plays a role in expression,” Onyekwere explains to My Modern Met.
The gifted artist spends countless hours refining the texture of his subject’s skin with numerous feather-light lines in order to slowly achieve a photorealistic quality. “[My] favorite aspect of my drawing is the eyes,” he admits. “They mirror some of our deepest desires, fears, inhibitions, perceptions, thoughts, [and] most of which we are unconsciously aware of.” Onyekwere wants to lure the viewer into his hyperrealistic art to understand the emotional subtext hidden in his portraits.
Nigerian artist Patrick Onyekwere uses a ballpoint pen to create exquisite hyperrealistic portraits.
His series Circles of Hope depicts black men and women’s lives as “an endless maze” that is full of “twists and turns.”
Watch this video for insight into Onyekwere’s process: