The English artist Mark Powell, inspired in his work by the transcendent creations of Jean Michael Basquiat and the hyperrealism of Chuck Close, is famous for him using Bic Biro pens to create amazing drawings on vintage envelopes, with the most various subjects, from flying birds to portraits.
His rat has recently evolved, from envelopes to old maps used as canvas: Powell draws faces and bodies with extreme detail, adding texture with the crossroads between roads, boulevards and alleys that appear on the background map, regardless of the city or region that it represents. The envelopes look faded and marked with stamps that attest their journey through the European continent more than a century ago.
The British artist chooses to draw on paper with historical marks, stamps and writings because he wants to imbue his work with a story that transcends boundaries, giving a more detailed and deep background to the subjects represented. “The canvas I have chosen has a history and a hint of a story, much like the faces that I choose to draw. They compliment each other and I hope leads the viewer to wonder, and maybe create, a history for the two. I rarely connect the portrait and canvas as they are both strangers to me”, says Powell.
Powell has additionally worked on large paintings, like the ones created by Basquiat and Close, but he prefers working on portraits, that can take from four hours to an entire month to complete. “My motivation is costant. To simply create and I hope to, one day, impress myself.”
The English artist manages to implement an average of thirty shows per year: the most recent, titled Anthropology, is open in London from the 3rd of March to the 10th of April, at Hang-up Gallery in Newington.
You can find out more about Powell’s art on his Facebook profile.