Since 2014・Volume 6
René Moncada Brooklyn, New York
Aries Villaflor Quezon City, Philippines
Andrey Poletaev Lugansk, Ukraine
Kiev January 2015
ballpoint pen on paper
36 x 42cm (14 x 17''), shown cropped
Artwork © Andrey Poletaev
László Bíró・Waiting・Ballpoint pen on paper, circa 1940.
Private collection; Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Alexander P. Moreira Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Jhon Rich Compra Bohol, Philippines
Lennie Mace Tokyo, Japan
Goat Gal (Goat 1 of 4) 2014
ballpoint pen & ''dry'' ballpoint pen on paper
Artwork © Lennie Mace/THE LAB
Qualeasha Wood Long Branch, New Jersey
Nathan Lorenzana Guatemala City, Guatemala
Allan Barbeau Dublin, Ireland
Dave Warshaw San Diego, California
Scott Mackie Aberdeen, Scotland
Ralvin Dizon Pampanga, Philippines
Although his product can be found in every household, László Bíró is not a household name. But his name remains indelibly connected to that product, which in some countries is known simply as a biro instead of the more descriptive ballpoint pen known to the rest of the world. In his adopted homeland Argentina, Bíró's birthday (September 29) is observed as Inventors' Day. Bíró may not have "invented" the idea of using a "ball point" device as an ink delivery system, per se, but ballpoint pens as we know them today are the direct offspring of Bíró's patented design and his brother György's solutions to ink viscosity.
For as long as there have been ballpoint pens, artists and laymen alike have been utilizing them creatively at either end of the spectrum, whether producing museum-quality artistic masterpieces or scratching out mindless doodles phone-side. Unsurprisingly, Bíró himself was among the earliest to test drive his pens' artistic applications; a 2005 mechanical engineering exhibition in Argentina, focussing on the invention of the ballpoint pen, printed in its brochure a ballpoint pen drawing titled Waiting (pictured) credited to Bíró (along with original patent drawings bearing Bíró's signature). Looking as much like a page out of an Old Master's archive, Biro's simple, etching-like sketch commands as much intrigue as that of any such predecessors. In blue ballpoint ink, Bíró hastily recorded what seems to be a trio of nuns, judging by Flying Nun-like head gear. The enigmatic drawing's backstory, or existence of others like it, was unfortunately not reported in the brochure. Artists either aspiring or accomplished, to whom ballpoint pens make a difference in the creation of "art", have Bíró to thank for providing what's proven to be a valid and versatile art medium alternative. Bíró himself would undoubtedly be humbled to witness the quality, quantity and artistic capabilities of his now-ubiquitous writing instrument.
Bíró's ballpoint patent was bought by Marcel Bich in 1945, introducing another name which would go on to become synonymous with ballpoint pens: BiC™. The Ballpointer will inform and educate about the likes of Bíró and Bich, the engineering and manufacture of the instrument they perfected, and, most of all, the artists currently pushing its limits・
THE BALLPOINTER Published by Ronald Bell & Orlando Lebron / Mahozawari Unlimited・Contributors: R. Bell, O. Lebron, Bruce Neufeld, E. Lee, Kaji Rie・Art Direction Susan May, USA・Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
Serhiy Kolyada Kiev, Ukraine
The Theory for Origins 2012
ballpoint pen on panel
56 x 41cm (shown cropped)
Artwork © Serhiy Kolyada
Lennie Mace PICKS SPECIAL Tokyo, Japan
ballpoint pen & cut vinyl decals on paper
146 x 103cm (57.5 x 40.5''), shown cropped
Artwork © Lennie Mace/THE LAB
Peter Ross Hong Kong
ballpoint pen, gouache & pencil on paper
30 x 30cm (12 x 12''), shown cropped
Artwork © Peter Ross
James Mylne London, England
Natalia 2014, Torn series
ballpoint pen & mixed media on paper
75 x 93cm (29 x 36''), shown cropped
Artwork © James Mylne
Alberto Repetti Genova, Italy
Susan May Pasadena, California
Read about these artworks in the artists' own words in the PICKS page archives...
HONORABLEMENTION These artists have shown some measure of contribution to the greater good of the medium, and their talent should not go unrecognized. These lists are by no means complete.
Allan Barbeau France-born, Ireland-based. Barbeau's usage of available oil-based ballpoint inks to create full-color photorealism is among the earliest of its kind. Barbeau self-published a fully illustrated How-To instructional book in French in 2014. The English edition is now available. website The Ballpointer PENNAME feature May 2015
Claudio Ethos Known primarily for large scale street art murals in paint, most of those very same murals were borne of more modestly scaled ballpoint pen originals, often exhibited alongside during gallery installations.
Jan Fabre Belgium. In the early 1980s, when drawing an actual picture was considered uncool, 'multidisciplinary' artist Fabre used ballpoints to scribble on ballerina shoes, the walls of a full room and even the exterior of a castle somewhere. A 'viral' equivalent of its day.
Ler Huang Taipei, Taiwan. Huang's fashion illustrations gained the support of the O Kin Kon ballpoint pen company in his home country, creating package designs for the company's ballpoint products, using company pens. Huang teaches ballpoint drawing workshops in Taiwan.
Toyin Ojih Odutola Nigeria-born, New York-based. Earlier mixed-media artworks which utilized ballpoint pen brought Odutola publicity (2012~). Recent artworks more often than not mix mediums other than ballpoint pens (2015~). website
Shohei Otomo Tokyo, Japan. Latest in a tradition of culture-jamming Japanese illustrators; imagine pierced and tattooed geisha, over-accessorized schoolgirls and rock'n roll samurai with electric guitars. Eye-candy in black-&-white anime style. Played the "indie" card via viral blog exposure circa 2015, but no proven track record otherwise. Currently MIA. website
Dave Warshaw San Diego-based Warshaw is a tattoo artist whose ballpoint artwork bridges the gap between the two remotely-related mediums. He works mostly in black ballpoint ink, mostly on wood, creating artwork you might be happy to wear forever. website
Peter Ross Hong Kong
Levey Rañin Carigari, Leyte, Philippines
Ross Kinkaid Kent, England
Arthur T. Cortez Calamba City, Philippines
Ler Huang Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Ryusei Ichimaru Tokyo, Japan
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Christie's online auctions
offered ballpoints by Warhol. Click on the art image...
Lennie Mace New York-born, Tokyo-based Mace is among the most versatile of ballpointers. Name it, he's done it: varying degrees of high- & low-brow art for commerce & exhibition, graphics, portraiture, temporary tattoos for film & fashion shoots, architectural design and more.
website 'goods' website The Ballpointer PENNAME feature FEB 2015
Shane McAdams American Southwest-born, Brooklyn-based. McAdams' ballpoint "Pen Blows" are among the most innovative use of the medium as yet to be found, placing him in a class by himself. website The Ballpointer PENNAME feature DEC 2014
James Mylne London. Gained attention in the UK for his ballpoint photorealism. Internet exposure took his artwork worldwide, with continuing presence. Respected among fellow ballpointers, Since mid-2015 Mylne is taking his ballpoint work in new directions via mixings of mediums.
website The Ballpointer PENNAME feature APR 2015
Andrey Poletaev Lugansk, Ukraine. Poletaev's photorealist "Cityscape" series shows skilled handling of architectural detail and atmospheric perspective. His relaxed depictions belie the daily hardships of war in his homeland. website The Ballpointer PENNAME feature JUNE 2015
C.J. Pyle Indianapolis. Pyle has a musical background and it shows in funky, rock'n roll, jazzzzy ballpoint drawings which are often drawn on record sleeves, et al. website
LászlóBíró by E. Lee posted October 27, 2014
Satrio Arimbat Ardho Java, Indonesia
Aug 22-25, 2015
(work-in-progress facebook post)
ballpoint pen on paper, shown cropped.
Artwork © Satrio Arimbat Ardho
Allan Barbeau Dublin, Ireland
Bouche Bisous 2011
ballpoint pen on paper
23 x 21cm (10 x 8''), shown cropped
Artwork © Allan Barbeau
PENNAME Feature Article ARCHIVES 2015
*Click on the art images to SEE & READ the full stories...
NOV 2014 ~ NOV 2015
The Ballpointer: A Year in The Pen 2015
PICKS of the Litter・No Slim Pickings
Peter Ross Hong Kong. Ross' artworks in ballpoint pen show his architectural background and influences mixing architecture and his inherited southeast Asian homeland.
website The Ballpointer PENNAME feature AUG 2015
Nicolas V. Sanchez Michigan-born, New York-based Sanchez is a painter who has attracted attention by using the four basic ballpoint colors (black, blue, red, green) to create full-color photorealism, mostly portraiture, sketch-book size. website
Aquirax Uno Tokyo, Japan. Uno, well-known simply as "Aquirax", is from a 1960s group of Japanese artists which included names such as Tadanori Yokoo. Keeping a lower profile these days (and never fully given the credit he deserves) Aquirax's ballpoints are simple but elegantly thoughtful masterpieces. website
Rebecca Yanovskaya Toronto, Canada. Scenes of sensual fantasia are her realm. Yanovskaya details her black ballpoint figures with gold-leafing in the form of head-dresses and wings. website
A-Z directory of artists working predominantly in ballpoint pen and/or excelling in the medium, worldwide. Having received recognition regionally or internationally, their work is a matter of public record. This directory is revised regularly to reflect currency and lasting contributions to the medium.
Juan Francisco Casas Spain. Casas' use of the internet to promote his ballpoint drawings worked to his advantage, achieving "viral" status in 2005 for his blue-BIC photorealist replications of so-called "selfie"-style snapshots. Since 2015 Casas has been utilizing more ballpoint color.
Shirish Deshpande Belgaum, India. Along with abstract paintings in oil and acrylic, Deshpande uses multicolored ballpoints to create bucolic, atmospheric scenes of his homeland, and more.
Serhiy Kolyada Kyiv, Ukraine. Kolyada's black ballpoint penwork laid bare the political & societal topics of his homeland. In an era of political correctness & censorship, artwork such as his may be most important of all, though it is mostly swept under the rug.
IL Lee South Korea-born, Brooklyn-based. Lee creates abstract expressionistic doodles on a grand scale, known to go through hundreds of pens in the process. Lee has earned well-deserved blue-chip credentials, albeit through elitist press coverage, and/but although naysayers may think "I can do that", they can't. website
Pepe Lozano Spain. This ballpoint elder's hyperrealist use of blue ballpoints doesn't even require that descriptive. They simply are. Ballpoint PEN ting at its rarest level.