Since 2014・Volume 6
PICK PIECES The Ballpointer staff choose the artwork and let the artist explain it in their own words ・ Vol 6 No 4 posted September 30, 2019
Alberto Repetti・Genoa, Italy
In the Teeth of the Gale 2019, September ・ 14.8 x 10.5cm (5.8 x 4.1'') ・ ballpoint pen on Fabriano cardboard
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Last revised Oct 6, 2019
No, the drawings presented here have not been 'defaced' or altered in any way. The section title deFACEDsimply 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 is revised regularly
Listed by date, from most recently posted.
All artwork ©
RECAP originally posted in installments throughout 2015
Andy Warhol @ Christie's online auction series, 2015
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 ・・・
''This drawing is the fruit of natural observation towards the marine landscape from my home in Genoa, northern Italy, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The drawing is part of my Biroscape series, number 245. All Biroscapes are small windows that open onto possible worlds, both real and unreal. When viewed live, the small size forces the viewer to get very close to the work. It is like seeing from a small hole in a wall and observing the immensity of the sea, or other space. I think this is very important because, in addition to the subject represented, I think it is necessary to perceive the technique with which it is represented. The size of a design is not important, in my opinion; the dimension is perceived by the viewer from within the drawing itself, whatever its size. The horizon in my landscapes tends to be low because it allows the perception of a deep, distant, broad horizon. Height and length are measures that cannot be changed on a small cardboard, the only size that can vary is the depth. This type of subject allows the artist to take full advantage of that peculiarity.
The type of board I use is very smooth and allows me to just touch the surface and get the shade I want. I use a classic black Bic Crystal pen with a 1mm thick tip. The variation of pressure on the pen or its angle determine completely different results that I try to make the most of with interesting solutions. When drawing with a light pressure and obtaining a soft shade you have to remember to pause to clean the tip of the pen to avoid smudging, so I pass it on a sheet of paper two or three times per minute to guarantee cleanliness. The slightest stain on such a small surface would compromise the whole mood''・
illustration by Susan May for The Ballpointer