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STARPOINTS  by K. Rie  posted December 7, 2015

All but the keenest viewers may have missed the many ballpoint pen cameos on screens big and small over the years. Ballpoints are regulars in Hollywood productions, and not just as set dressing... 

Set Dressers

I am a card-carrying, Japanese, otaku-level film buff. There, I've said it. Since being entrusted with this column a year ago, nothing makes me prouder than discovering blink-and-you'll-miss glimpses of ballpoint pen art onscreen. Now that I pay closer attention, I find enough to warrant a monthly column on the subject. In wrapping up a year committed to this task, I turn my camera to several ballpoint pen art cameos which hit closer to home than any others previously reported...

Ballpoint appearances reported here thus far have been of incidental nature; film characters with no artistic backstory whose ballpoint doodles nonetheless serve the story in some way. This month the focus is on the first known instances of actual  ballpoint pen artwork drawn by actual  artists actually  known for their ballpoint pen artwork. Granted, these ballpoint cameos didn't appear onscreen with neon signs or subtitles announcing their presence. We only know of these mostly by way of the artists' own social media chatter. That unfortunately consisted of not much more than ''Yahoo, look where my art ended up! '' I can only, therefore, offer more of the same; Yahoo, look where these brethren ballpointers' art ended up! Let's hope the artists were at least properly acknowledged in the credits or adequately paid for their work. Knowing the way these things often work, maybe appearance  was payment enough.
    Toyin Ojih Odutola showed sisterly pride when one of her ballpoint and mixed-media pieces ended up on a wall in the home of beloved-and-behated Emmy nominated character Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) in season two of Empire. Odutola's Hold It In Your Mouth A Little Longer (2013, above) watched silently as the characters interacted. The artist commented on facebook, ''I always dreamed that Cookie would be a patron of my work, and that came true! ''
    Rebecca Yanovskaya's artwork had an ongoing presence on Shadowhunters in 2015 (below). I'm not familiar with the program, personally, which is filmed on location in Toronto, Yanovskaya's hometown. The artist announced ''Super happy to be working with the great folks at Shadowhunters''. Her Sirensong and Ascent of Man artworks were among those utilized as set dressing...

Jhon Rich Compra   Bohol, Philippines

Alberto Repetti   Genova, Italy

​​    PICK PIECES   The Ballpointer staff choose the artwork and let the artist explain it in their own words   Vol 2 No 10  posted November 4, 2015

A Year in The PenPICKS of the Litter  2015

Ballpoint pen PICKS of today may be the PENNAME  features of tomorrow... 

Susan May   Pasadena, California

Alexander Perandin Moreira   Brazil

No Slim Pickings

Embarking upon publication of The Ballpointer in 2014, so began the fishing for talent. The crew were already familiar with those waters. Troll the 'net, cast a net. Unsurprisingly, amateur ballpointers outnumber the pros, but by a wider margin than expected. For every ballpoint pen artist exhibiting in hallowed halls, a great deal more upstarts toil after-hours creating artwork just as worthy of some amount of attention.

     As is evident by this site-wide 2015 recap, PICKS page included, ballpoint pen art comes in all shapes and sizes, not only showing the myriad interests and creative approaches of users but proving the versatility of the pens and the range of possibilities they offer. Ballpoint pen artwork is still more often pegged as  oddity  than  artistry , but oddities catch peoples' attention too, for better or worse, bringing up questions of ''How'd they do that ?!''
     Well acquainted with the medium, we've heard the HOW s and WHY s before but we still like to get our news straight from the source. PICKing from artwork which caught our collective eye, the voting 'Academy' of contributing editors kept their mouths shut and let the artists speak for themselves. (''Letting the  art  speak for itself '' is overrated; it doesn't provide any insight and, for the most part, it's an artistic cop-out.)

     The PICKS policy was intended to be a don't-find-us, we'll-find-you procedure, but submissions also started pouring in soon after the page debuted, with many asking ''What makes the cut ?'' An undefinable ''certain something '' is the straight answer to that question. Still, our Academy of PICKERS felt generous enough to offer in-a-word hints summing up what that  certain something might've been. See the slideshows. Do we know how to pick 'em or do we know how to pick 'em ? 
O. Lebron  November, 2015


Images below link to each artists' archived PICKS page.  All artwork © respective artists 

Nathan Lorenzana  Guatemala City, Guatemala

Qualeasha Wood   Long Branch, New Jersey

Ryusei Ichimaru   Tokyo, Japan

Ler Huang   Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Dave Warshaw   San Diego, California

Allan Barbeau   Dublin, Ireland

Ralvin Dizon   Pampanga, Philippines

Scott Mackie   Aberdeen, Scotland

View more PICK PIECES and read about these artworks in the artists' own words in The Ballpointer PICKPIECE archives. Click on the artwork to see their PICKPIECES.

    Since 2014・Volume 5

Sydney

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René Moncada   Brooklyn, New York

Aries Villaflor   Quezon City, Philippines

Lennie Mace is known for his temporary tattoo work for films. I recently came across one example on late-night cable TV to which I'd heard he contributed. Havoc (2005) shows the kind of gangland tattoo repro work which has become a part-time job for Mace. The artist shies away from talking about these jobs because, in his words, ''It's not Lennie Mace art; mostly they want prison tats, so that's what they get'' .
  No Emmys or Oscars will be handed out for these appearances, nor will you see the artists on any red carpets, but The Ballpointer  awards honorary Golden Biros to these artists, looking forward to 2016 bringing bigger, better, more conspicuous screen time than ever before​​

 Read more K. Rie  STARPOINTS on the CULTURED  page.

Levey Rañin   Carigari, Leyte, Philippines

Peter Ross   Hong Kong

Arthur T. Cortez   Calamba City, Philippines

Ross Kinkaid   Kent, England