NOVEMBER 2014

Serhiy Kolyada Kiev, Ukraine  

Conflict and corruption feed commentary; key ingredients for intriguing art. Awareness may be the ultimate goal, but one must first actually care enough to spread the word. Serhiy Kolyada cares. His key ingredient is ink, and his Lifescapes  serve up a spicy blend of commentary and criticism peppered with politicians and prostitutes. Brothels and consumer brands form his artistic broth, but Kolyada's compositional stew is his strength. Art as something to chew on...

Read the full archived feature. 


The Theory for Origins  2012, ballpoint pen on panel, 56 x 41 cm (shown cropped). © Serhiy Kolyada

Snapshot of the poster (above) shows Sony's Toro character pre-embellishment and advertising text later covered by Mace's vinyl decal mosaic motif.

​​​​​​Mace also didn't go over the top in decking out each character in costumes identifiable as Japanese cosplay (cos tume play) imagery. In fact the piece is not meant as any sort of homage to the pop culture phenomena, for which Mace has little interest. ''Making it  'CosPlayStation:2011' was mostly just a way of embellishing the existing  'PlayStation 2' text,'' he admits. Instead he offers small touches of surreal costuming; the I-beam on the head, the spacesuit of the central Toro figure. Only a ribboned hat, schoolgirl sailor collar, and high heel boots hint at recognized cosplay costumery. 
     The mosaic decals applied throughout came about as a strategic solution to two problems Mace faced from the start; how to cover bulky blocks of advertising text at top-left and bottom-right, and also cover creasing of the paper and cracking of the printed surface caused by the poster having been rolled into a tube for years. The grid at bottom-right covers ad text but Mace drew new text with relevancy to the theme; Japanese  kanji   characters drawn bottom-right reading 'ahsoh-beh ' (Play) adds counterpoint to the existing text at top left which reads 'yahsoo-meh ' (Rest). 


Mace works on pieces such as  CosPlayStation  over the course of years, with several in-progress at the same time. ''Japan is about small walls and limited art spending, so while I'm drawing complex works like this for my own pleasure I'm also producing smaller, simpler works made accessible to people who aren't necessarily art collectors. Pieces like CosPlayStation serve the same purpose as Fashion Week runway shows serve fashion designers, it proves why I'm worth anyones' time or attention while the steady money comes from sales of smalls.'' CosPlayStation came into being as a live-drawing used during exhibitions starting in 2006. ''Among the first elements drawn were the cats on the platform next to Toro, the face visible in the helmet visor and central I-beam balloon. Then came the fire escapes. The girl singing from the left fire escape was the first of those figures drawn.'' The piece took shape slowly thereafter, often not being touched for full years while Mace worked on other things, always jotting down notes for the next time he would return to it. Once a playful motif had evolved, Mace decided to build an exhibition around the theme (two Play Pen exhibitions in 2011, Tokyo) and made  CosPlayStation:2011  one of two anchor pieces. Mace calculates actual drawing time amounting to around four months if condensed into one block, instead broken into at least four separate week-long periods of daily drawing (live, during exhibitions) and a couple of periods of intense drawing leading up to his 2012 Pen Pal exhibition (San Francisco). Numbers drawn onto the right-side crane date the completion of  CosPlayStation  as August, 2012 (812).

Given the size and fragility of the framed artwork Mace intends to keep CosPlayStation in the USA until a happy home can be secured. Until then it stays where it hangs accompanied by other artworks which have accumulated after exhibitions elsewhere in the US in recent years. And what about an actual New York exhibition? One gallerist who visited to consider Mace for an exhibition commented 'I can't sell this '. That's like an architect saying 'I can't build that '. Translated: 'Not very good at my job '. Another advised him he might be better off staying in Japan, presumably due to the sorry state of Art and exhibiting in New York. I'd agree. Building a Castle in the mountains sounds like a far better proposition than dealing with fancy-pants New York gallerists

Tokyo

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Hong Kong

London 

PENNAME  Feature Article ARCHIVES  

APRIL 2015

James Mylne London, England  

Britain's premier ballpointer James Mylne has undergone as conspicuous and ambitious a developmental arc as one artist could experience within such a relatively short span of time. Mylne readily admits the "shift"; conscious steps beyond earlier, straightforward photorealism...

Read the full archived feature. 


Natalia  2014, Torn series

ballpoint pen, spray paint, marker, ripped Giclee prints and Krink on paper, 75 x 93cm (29 x 36''),

shown cropped.

Artwork © James Mylne

Mace passed posters such as this on a daily basis along with anyone else riding the Japan Railway network. With an abundance of posters bearing imagery which he felt ''were asking for it '', Mace went to obtaining all he could get his hands on. Having learned from station attendants that the posters were discarded once their run was done, Mace asked if they could contact him and let him take his choice. The attendants smiled and took his information but contact never came, even as Mace noticed the posters changing, so he took things into his own hands. Even by the year 2001 many platform posters in Tokyo were still being installed using pushpins to a framed calk board. On deserted late night platforms, he'd remove the pushpins from the bottom up, pausing if a train pulled in, and continued until the poster was free and he could roll it up and get on the next train. Sometimes he'd do this in broad daylight if he came across a particularly promising poster. To avert potential doubts of trustworthiness from the upstanding citizenry of his adopted homeland, Mace kept hush to friends and customers about his covert methods of acquisition. If anyone asked at all, he'd say he acquired the posters the way he'd actually attempted from the start, by asking station attendants. Now, he says, he couldn't take posters even if he wanted. ''Cameras are everywhere now and most posters are placed in backlit casings and printed to suit that format, not ballpoint-friendly paper anymore.'' 

Original content © The Ballpointer / Mahozawari Unlimited.

CosPlayStation:2011  DETAILS: close-ups of Toro character as embellished by Mace (above right), tower crane details, fire escape details and the figures entertaining themselves therein (right & below right).

CosPlayStation:2011   drawn between 2006-2012  Tokyo, Japan  (below, in-full )

ballpoint pen & cut vinyl decals on Japan Railway poster  146 x 103cm (57.5 x 40.5'')


A Far East ballpoint pen masterpiece has finally made its way West. Interested parties in the New York area proving worthy enough to score an appointment have a rare opportunity to view original Lennie Mace artwork the likes of which have yet to be properly exhibited in the city. Mace extended an invitation to The Ballpointer  and, being the de facto New York correspondent, apparently I proved worthy. I was surely interested. It's been more than a decade since the absentee New Yorker has had anything on display in his hometown, so when a long-time New York patron offered showroom space, Mace accepted. The artist was not, himself, on hand when I visited (Mace is reported to be building some kind of "Castle" in the Japanese Alps) but I was given a private walk-through by the host patron and corresponded with Mace afterward; voluminous E-chats which centered on CosPlayStation:2011, a piece meriting attention greater than this humble reporter may be capable of providing.
   
CosPlayStation:2011 exemplifies recognizable aspects of Mace's output. As an embellishment of printed material it falls within his MediaGraffiti / AdLib  series. The lone figure of the original poster is SonyPlayStation mascot Toro, shown from behind, looking out into the open sky. By Mace's embellishments, Toro now faces us and his oversized head becomes a helmet. He also becomes a she, as evidenced by Mace's addition of bulb-like, albeit bit-mapped, breasts. The face, I'm told, was originally rendered realistically but, when Mace went with tiled decals to cover ad-copy and cracks, he extended the mosaic motif into his own drawing to maintain continuity, face included. Toro is given hands, holding what Mace refers to as an I-Beam balloon, and white legs are now plaid pants, a long-time Mace motif. As a large, fully realized scene it also qualifies as a Mace PENting  (ballpoint drawing displaying painterly qualities). Aside from Toro, the printed image shows open sky, meaning every drawn element stands as a self-contained image. Mace's stop-making-sense approach to creative geniustry and penchant for cryptic metaphors and/or Hitchcockian  maguffins  (objects seemingly meaningful, but not ) is also evident throughout. What's with the floating I-beams? Who knows. Perhaps related to the tower cranes? Maybe, maybe not.


​Mace passed posters such as this on a daily basis along with anyone else riding the Japan Railway network. With an abundance of posters bearing imagery which he felt ''were asking for it '', Mace went to obtaining all he could get his hands on. Having learned from station attendants that the posters were discarded once their run was done, Mace asked if they could contact him and let him take his choice. The attendants smiled and took his information but contact never came, even as Mace noticed the posters changing, so he took things into his own hands. Even by the year 2001 many platform posters in Tokyo were still being installed using pushpins to a framed calk board. On deserted late night platforms, he'd remove the pushpins from the bottom up, pausing if a train pulled in, and continued until the poster was free and he could roll it up and get on the next train. Sometimes he'd do this in broad daylight if he came across a particularly promising poster. To avert potential doubts of trustworthiness from the upstanding citizenry of his adopted homeland, Mace kept hush to friends and customers about his covert methods of acquisition. If anyone asked at all, he'd say he acquired the posters the way he'd actually attempted from the start, by asking station attendants. Now, he says, he couldn't take posters even if he wanted. ''Cameras are everywhere now and most posters are placed in backlit casings and printed to suit that format, not ballpoint-friendly paper anymore.'' 

​​​​​''It's like an indirect collaboration between me and the art directors at  Sony. They provided the central character, a big sky and panoramic proportions, and I took it from there. Nice working with ya.''

JULY 2015

M.I. Shaikh Mumbai, India  

Some say art schools ruin the artist. Whether or not that's true is of no concern to Mr. M.I. Shaikh. ''Undoubtedly self-taught. No lessons, no mentor, no special training or formal classes,'' proclaims Shaikh. Such is the measure of talent outside of art school meccas like New York or London. Diplomas don't guarantee a prosperous career, even in New York, but not having one doesn't automatically kill ones' prospects. Not when it comes to art...

Read the full archived feature 


Untitled 14  November 2013, ballpoint pen on paper, 31 x 46cm (12 x 18''),

shown cropped. Artwork © M.I. Shaikh

JUNE 2015

Andrey Poletaev Lugansk, Ukraine  

Andrey Poletaev can luckily travel vast distances without ever having to leave his home. Ballpoint pen in hand he can set off in any direction, as he pleases. The ability to use art as an escape to lands known-or-unknown proves how drawing skills and 'vision' are a magic combination. Imagination plays a part for many artists, but Poletaev's travels are decidedly more terrestrial. He could be logging frequent flyer mileage. And if his visual documentations thus far don't merit a diploma, he can simply draw one...

Read the full archived feature 


Kiev  January 2015, ballpoint pen on paper, 36 x 42cm (14 x 17''), shown cropped. Artwork © Andrey Poletaev

MARCH 2015

Lennie Mace Tokyo, Japan  

This must be the wrong exhibition. Lennie Mace is, after all, known for colorfully detailed, elaborately composed ballpoint artwork, but no such artwork is on display here;

only blank sheets of paper,

beautifully framed...

Read the full archived feature. 


Goat Gal  (Goat 1 of 4) 2014, 

ballpoint pen & ''dry'' ballpoint pen 

on paper, shown cropped. An example of ''colorfully detailed'' Mace,

showing usage of ''dry pen'' patterns.  

artwork © Lennie Mace/THE LAB

​​​​​PENNAME PICK  by B. Neufeld  originally posted September 1, 2015

Play Boy   PICKS SPECIAL:  Lennie MaceNew York City via Tokyo, Japan 

CosPlayStation:2011drawn between 2006-2012・Tokyo, Japan・ballpoint pen & cut vinyl decals on Japan Railway poster・146 x 103cm (57.5 x 40.5'')

​​​A Far East ballpoint pen masterpiece has finally made its way West. Interested parties in the New York area proving worthy enough to score an appointment have a rare opportunity to view original Lennie Mace artwork the likes of which have yet to be properly exhibited in the city. Mace extended an invitation to The Ballpointer  and, being the de facto New York correspondent, apparently I proved worthy. I was surely interested. It's been more than a decade since the absentee New Yorker has had anything on display in his hometown, so when a long-time New York patron offered showroom space, Mace accepted. The artist was not, himself, on hand when I visited (Mace is reported to be building some kind of "Castle" in the Japanese Alps) but I was given a private walk-through by the host patron and corresponded with Mace afterward; voluminous E-chats which centered on CosPlayStation:2011, a piece meriting attention greater than this humble reporter may be capable of providing.

    Since 2014・Volume 5

clock for website

New York  

CosPlayStation:2011 exemplifies recognizable aspects of Mace's output. As an embellishment of printed material it falls within his MediaGraffiti / AdLib  series. The lone figure of the original poster is SonyPlayStation mascot Toro, shown from behind, looking out into the open sky. By Mace's embellishments, Toro now faces us and his oversized head becomes a helmet. He also becomes a she, as evidenced by Mace's addition of bulb-like, albeit bit-mapped, breasts. The face, I'm told, was originally rendered realistically but, when Mace went with tiled decals to cover ad-copy and cracks, he extended the mosaic motif into his own drawing to maintain continuity, face included. Toro is given hands, holding what Mace refers to as an I-Beam balloon, and white legs are now plaid pants, a long-time Mace motif. As a large, fully realized scene it also qualifies as a Mace PENting  (ballpoint drawing displaying painterly qualities). Aside from Toro, the printed image shows open sky, meaning every drawn element stands as a self-contained image. Mace's stop-making-sense approach to creative geniustry and penchant for cryptic metaphors and/or Hitchcockian  maguffins  (objects seemingly meaningful, but not ) is also evident throughout. What's with the floating I-beams? Who knows. Perhaps related to the tower cranes? Maybe, maybe not.


​Mace passed posters such as this on a daily basis along with anyone else riding the Japan Railway network. With an abundance of posters bearing imagery which he felt ''were asking for it '', Mace went to obtaining all he could get his hands on. Having learned from station attendants that the posters were discarded once their run was done, Mace asked if they could contact him and let him take his choice. The attendants smiled and took his information but contact never came, even as Mace noticed the posters changing, so he took things into his own hands. Even by the year 2001 many platform posters in Tokyo were still being installed using pushpins to a framed calk board. On deserted late night platforms, he'd remove the pushpins from the bottom up, pausing if a train pulled in, and continued until the poster was free and he could roll it up and get on the next train. Sometimes he'd do this in broad daylight if he came across a particularly promising poster. To avert potential doubts of trustworthiness from the upstanding citizenry of his adopted homeland, Mace kept hush to friends and customers about his covert methods of acquisition. If anyone asked at all, he'd say he acquired the posters the way he'd actually attempted from the start, by asking station attendants. Now, he says, he couldn't take posters even if he wanted. ''Cameras are everywhere now and most posters are placed in backlit casings and printed to suit that format, not ballpoint-friendly paper anymore.'' 

​     One oft unreported aspect of Mace's work is that everything is drawn by hand; Mace rarely copies from reference. In CosPlayStation:2011  the only exception is a pair of cats borrowed from a portrait Mace was working on during the same period. ''If I need to draw a chair, for example, I know what chairs look like. Most of the time it's not about drawing the fanciest chair, the chair may not even be a focal point of the piece as a whole. A chair is required, so just draw a chair. Basic drawing skills. As for the fire escapes and tower cranes  (two main motifs of CosPlayStation) I grew up playing on fire escapes and know'em enough to lay down the basics for starters. Later I can refer to the real thing for details during trips to New York. The cranes were my Tokyo view, my balcony overlooking Shinjuku''... 

The original CosPlayStation:2011  artwork is available for private viewing & sale by arrangement through any of the artist's contacts.

CosPlayStation:2011  will be available as a limited-run ten-postcard set; one of the full image, nine close-up details.


CosPlayStation:2011  artwork​ © Lennie Mace.

Playstation & Toro character are registered trademarks of the Sony Corporation.

Sydney

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For more information & inquiries:  www.lenniemace.com  &  www.lenniemacemarket.com  

DECEMBER 2014

Shane McAdams Brooklyn, New York

Ballpoint pen art without the ballpoint pen? That and more from Shane McAdams, artist and closet alchemist, who literally removes the ball point from the equation by "blowing", milking or otherwise extracting ink from ballpoints and magic markers toward artistic ends.​ Material "deconstruction" distinguishes McAdams from most of his ballpoint peers...

Read the full archived feature.


Cloudslinger  2014, ballpoint pen, 

oil & resin on panel, 48 x 48'' (shown cropped).

artwork © Shane McAdams