Since 2014・Volume 5
illustration by Susan May for The Ballpointer
raising his axe, skulls of fallen warriors, one little funny troll (in Scandinavian folklore, trolls are quite important little fellows!). But one of the most important element is the horse, Sleipnir. In Norse mythology it's the eight-legged horse ridden by Odin. It is important because the customer loves horses and she spends most of her life in a saddle. She even took a fantastic photo session with her shield and her horse!
I needed about fourteen days to finish the shield, and I used only gel ballpoint pens and markers. Actually, my father is crafting the shields. Four years ago I showed him how real viking round shields look like, from both sides, and how to craft them. So he creates every shield, I only do the drawing. I think this was my thirty-third shield when I made it. To-date I have now already made forty-five shields''・
Look for Black Forest Forge on social media for more art & information. Artwork © Dariusz Zawiązalec
Missing the Ball Point
Dimes-to-donuts there's a ballpoint pen within reach of you right now. Reliable friends, always there when you need them; on standby to scratch a Hitler mustache onto The President or blacken the teeth of the covergirl dujour. Your grade-school composition books were probably filled with more stream-of-conscious creative filler than actual studies. But this proletarian tool is no longer just for signing checks, writing postcards or doodling sweet nothings.
The origins of ballpoint artwork echo the humble origins of art itself. Caveman roots; the universal, instinctive urge to create. For some, an irresistible force; to express oneself, to leave one's mark, to teach, using whatever tools are available. All that's necessary is the will to do so, pressed by a bit of creative curiosity, aided by ingenuity. ''Let's see what happens when I do this.'' Galleries, museums and art critics enter the equation much later.
There you sit, a dozen-thousand years later, surfing through the daily barrage of viral news. A headline grabs you: Starving Artist Illustrates The Bible on his Bedroom Wall Using Ballpoint Pens. Well, ''starving artist '' doesn't mean much anymore; with the amount of aspiring artists art schools churn out every year its a miracle anyone goes onto a career. ''Illustrating the Bible ''? Hasn't that already been accomplished in any number of formats any number of times in any number of languages ? ''On his bedroom wall ''? Children cover walls with masterpieces daily, to their parent's dismay, worldwide. And ''using ballpoint pen''? Now there's a story, right ? Well…
News outlets worldwide still report about artwork created using ballpoint pens as if, in the half-century since its invention, the pens have never been given any artistic consideration. Prior to the advent of the internet and social media, their ignorance could be forgiven. Nowadays ballpointers are everywhere, in every corner of the world, and the so-called ballpoint Wow Factor in and of itself carries less weight. The internet and social media are these days awash with ballpoint art blogs of every stripe, although with varying content. Ballpoint art classes may already be part of a curriculum somewhere. But the birth of the internet didn't mark the beginnings of ballpoint innovation; if anything, it merely serves as proof of how commonplace it has become, or how it has been all along ・・・
PICK PIECES The Ballpointer staff choose the artwork and let the artist explain it in their own words Vol 5 No 4 posted July 10, 2018
Dariusz Zawiązalec・Katowice, Poland
Odin shield May, 2017 ・ 80cm Ø (31.5'') ・ ballpoint pen & hardware on wood
No, the drawings presented here have NOT been ''defaced'' or altered in any way. The title of this new section, DE FACED, simply describes the fact that the artworks presented here have been pulled from social media posts such as facebook and, as such, therefore ''de''-faced, as it were. Some of the artists may be familiar to readers, but new faces will also be introduced here. These artists have not been notified of inclusion here, but every effort will be made to credit the artwork as they did in their original posts.
The content of this slideshow presentation will be revised regularly & randomly.
Listed by date, from most recently posted.
All artwork ©
RECAP originally posted in installments throughout 2015
Andy Warhol @ Christie's online auction series, 2015
last revised July 15, 2018
''This shield was a commission for a woman from Norway. She always wanted to have something from me, but, unlike most of my clients, she did not want a portrait. We talked what she wanted on her shield, and after a few days the picture was clear. She decided to have Odin, one of the principal gods in Norse mythology. It was from her culture and we could apply some great decorations and elements connected to both her and the Norse god.
So the main character here is of course Odin, Norse god of war but also the god of poets. In outward appearance he was a tall, old man with a flowing beard and only one eye (the other he gave in exchange for wisdom). On the shield you can also see his two wolves—Geri and Freki—and ravens—Huginn and Muninn. There are also lots of elements and viking decorations like a drekar, the famous viking long boat, with a warrior