Since 2014・Volume 6
NewOld Master Pepe Lozano・Lucena, Spain
Above: INKU TUROI 2016, ballpoint pen on paper
13 x 9cm (5.12 x 3.54'') Artwork © Eric Seaholm
Above: Sueños de Libertad (Dreams of Liberty) 2016. Right: Africa Recicla (Recycling Africa) 2015, 50 x 50cm. Below: El Amanecer de la Ninfa (Dawn of the Nymph) 2015. All artwork 70 x 100cm unless otherwise noted, © Pepe Lozano
From among a small but prolific group of artists who could be considered the Blue Period photorealists of contemporary ballpointing, we find Pepe Lozano quietly churning out fine works of neoclassicism epitomizing the painterly effects achievable via ballpoint pen which define ballpoint 'penting'. In his first interview for the English-speaking world, Lozano tells us a little bit about himself and his work, and shares one of his newest. You may not have heard of this Spanish artist until now — his work has only recently begun to reach global audiences — but Lozano has been at it a bit longer than most. Ballpoint pens have been with him all along, too, as is evident in his tightly controlled penwork.
Born in 1955 in Córdoba, a city in the Andalusian region of southern Spain, Lozano tells us he has been drawing in ballpoint for some thirty-two years. Still, he considers he has only reached his full potential with the medium within the past five years. His first exhibition came relatively late in life, in 2012, but he has been exhibiting almost monthly since then. During that time, Lozano supposes to have completed approximately a hundred ballpoint drawings of the quality presented here, and shown them in nearly thirty exhibitions, several of them sellout shows. Lozano has yet to exhibit outside Spain, but he has traveled throughout Europe and aims for greater international attention.
Many heavyweights of western art history have emerged from across Spain — El Greco, Goya, Picasso, Miró and Dalí, to name a few — and Lozano claims inspiration from ''each and every one of them'', but Lozano discloses his greatest influence from the work of Michelangelo. The connection is evident in Lozano's handling of the female nudes populating his own work. Mastery of the lights, darks and all subtle halftones in between — superbly achieved by alternately delicate or thickly layered linework — fill out Lozano's fleshy figures on the flat pages.
Top: El Triunfo De Rómulo (The Triumph of Romulus) 2015. Above: Obsesion (Obsession) 2015.
Below left: El Descanso De La Ninfa (Rest of The Nymph) 2015. Below right: El Sueño De La Ninfa (Dream of The Nymph) 2015. All artwork 70 x 100cm unless otherwise noted, © Pepe Lozano
Continuing fromHEADLINESpage... The drawing El Triunfo De Rómulo, for example (The Triumph of Romulus, pictured), is composed from two images. For the figure in the foreground, a model friend was photographed. Then, Lozano relates, ''I improvised the background friezes and I thought it well to add the relief of Rómulo after assassinating his brother Remo''. Lozano doesn't openly point out any particular significance tying that background image of Romulus and Remus with the female nude in the foreground.
In Obsesion (Obsession, pictured) the female figures in the background are from The Three Graces (Italy, 1817), a marble sculpture by Antonio Canova. Obsesion is part of Lozano's Ninfas, a series of nine artworks created in 2015, which Lozano describes simply as ''inspired by the beauty of women in the province of Cádiz''. Most drawings from the series are composites of photo reference. Lozano explains his self portrait drawn prominently into the foreground of Obsesion as a kind of signature, as this piece marked the last of the Ninfas series.
Currently, the artist is busy with his newest series: Angels. He shared some thoughts about the second piece of the series, El Descanso del Alma (The Rest of the Soul), on The BallpointerPICKS page in March, and completed the newest entry to the series, Sueños de Libertad (Dreams of Liberty, pictured on the Headlines page), just in time to debut it as part of this month's feature article. Lozano tells us the series will ultimately consist of ten works.
Portrait commissions have naturally become part of Lozano's output, although he admits he'd rather spend that time with his own work. He adds, poignantly, ''The artist must eat.'' Lozano's to-do list for the immediate future is just as straightforward, to continue refining the ''translucency'' in his ballpoint modeling of the figures.
Lozano occasionally checks the goings-on of the ballpoint art world and is familiar with the work of Juan Francisco Casas, another Spaniard known for photorealist artwork of nude women drawn in blue ballpoint pen, with which Lozano's ballpoint work has been compared. When asked his thoughts about Casas' drawings, Lozano replies, simply, ''magnifico'', but he is quick to point out that he had been working in ballpoint long before Casas, and the two have never met. Unlike his compatriot, however, Lozano has yet to come up against negative reaction to the nudity in his artwork. Nor should he expect to; while Casas' drawings are locked into one-track-mind titillation and shock value, Lozano's are more thoughtful works for mature, refined tastes. ''I don't paint grotesque women or overly provocative views,'' Lozano rationalizes. Their techniques also produce dissimilar results; while Casas' use of crosshatching to convey volume remains evident to the viewer, Lozano's linework is much less discernible. And while Casas has recently started adding color, Lozano is fine with blue. ''I tried in every color but blue vision color attracts me especially.''
Photorealist artwork of this caliber is often ignored by avant-garde art snobs or swept under the rug by art world intelligentsia who have a vested interest in controlling the easily distracted interests of jet-set customers who would sooner be happy supporting the fine talents of artists such as Lozano than later finding themselves puzzled over why they paid so much for a six-foot tall spattering of paint signifying nothing. The offices of The Ballpointer have no rugs・
"Desde pequeño fui muy influenciado por toda representacion de arte por lo que ingrese a muy temprana edad en la escuela de artes y oficios de Cordoba, pase por todas las asignaturas artisticas desde: dibujo, pintura, modelado, orfebreria, joyeria... lo que me llevo a una recopilacion de todo lo aprendido y poderlo plasmar en mis obras hoy dia."Pepe Lozano, April 2016
For more info about the artwork of Pepe Lozano, contact: email@example.com
PENNAME originally posted April 3, 2016
Eric Seaholm Tokyo, Japan
This is no ink blot test. If you think you see something in Eric Seaholm's ballpoint pen drawings, it's understandable — Seaholm's meandering, musical line work plays tricks on the mind's eye — but you only think you see something. Seaholm welcomes each viewer to attach their own interpretations to the art. Wait a minute, isn't that the definition of ink blot testing? What do you see?
RECAP originally posted November 2, 2015
A Year in The Pen
The Ballpointer Nov 2014 ~ Nov 2015
Someday, someone else will list the accomplishments of The Ballpointer annually, but, seeing as all involved had doubts as to whether the site would even make it through a year, much less become the crown jewel of our fledgling empire, please bear with us as we bask in our own glory. OK, year-end timeline lists of accomplishments are usually lame. As publishers, we promise to never do this again. That said, allow us to remind you why we're here, lest you forget. A True Story…
PENNAME by O. Lebron posted May 1, 2016
Pepe Lozano Lucena, Spain
Lozano claims an ''innate curiosity'' in everything art-related since childhood. Focussed studies of a more academic nature began when he was thirteen, upon entering the School of Arts and Crafts in Córdoba.
''It was like a new world for me. I was like a sponge capable of absorbing all trades,'' Lozano recalls. Before that, there was his mother, whom he credits as an early artistic inspiration. Watching her carving small sculptures in wood and clay, the artist reminisced to Lucena Now while discussing his The Magic of Bic exhibition in January, 2016, ''was my first contact with the art world, feeling the mud on my hands and seeing something grow from nothing''. More recently, he divulged to The Ballpointer that earning a degree was never of great interest to him, stating ''My interest was to study various specialties that would later establish my future as an artist.'' He studied at the school for five years, then went to work as a goldsmith. Designing and making models for jewelry, he was able to utilize and expand his early experiences with crafts. Work with jewelry continues to this day, including deals involving international firms, and he also scored some awards along the way.
''It is difficult to define oneself, I have always preferred to believe more in the opinion of those who appreciate my work, but from my point of view I can say one thing: studying the great masters of painting and sculpture of previous centuries and how they have given life to an image, I think they are achievements of truly extreme difficulty, at the same time valuing and identifying in many respects with their works and styles, it leads me to consider and define myself as an artist.''
For Lozano, drawing is a daily activity, and he puts in as much as ten hours of drawing during any given session. Setting aside that time is a priority. ''Discipline in the world of drawing and painting means full dedication,'' Lozano affirms. It's also a solitary activity, and Lozano prefers to work in silence. Works in progress are always set up in his studio, which offers space enough to accommodate works of design, drawing and painting all at once. For his ballpoint penworks, he works on one at a time, pointing out that the quick-drying ink doesn't necessitate finding something else to work on while fresh ink is drying. Lozano works with very specific intentions for each work, seldom, if ever, straying from his plans, and leaving little to chance.
One of Lozano's earliest waves of publicity came with his 2011 work titled Mendigo — a beggar, drawn in black ballpoint — which was ''greeted with great interest by the public''. Asked what he considers his greatest achievement with ballpoints, Lozano shows us Africa Recicla (Recycling Africa, pictured), which won an international competition in 2015. The piece, drawn in blue, depicts an African woman with bottle caps adorning her thick hairdo.
Lozano does not load his artwork with autobiographical connotations but he does sometimes exploit recognizable works from art antiquity, reproducing their historical or mythological subjects into his own composition. His ballpoint drawings have always been avowedly realist, and although he often draws from real life and models, he also sometimes uses photographic references. ''It depends on the type of drawing'', states Lozano...