A Lot of Ball Point Pens

I love process-driven work.  I enjoy the voice that process is able to convey, and particularly the unique nature it lends aesthetically, almost as fingerprinting to an artist’s body of work.  Probably what I enjoy most, though, is the danger.  Right now you think i am an art nerd.  And you’re right, but truthfully, process-driven work so dangerously walks that slippery slope potentially leading directly below to the valley of kitsch.  Done poorly and the work inevitably falls flat on its face after the shine wears off.  I don’t mean the humorous, ironic failure either.  I mean terrible, bad, fly-by-night work, images of which most likely to be found via email forwards from one’s more embarrassing side of the extended family.  However, when an artist is able to successfully conquer that slippery slope with integrity, uniqueness, and peculiarity, they are able to change the foundations of art, how we perceive it, and the nature of creation.  In this sense, we have a conventional example in Chuck Close and more obscure one, depending upon your exposure, in Great Britain’s Banksy.  Some of the most interesting work being created, in my opinion, is process-driven (in its more positive sense, of course), and one such artist I am currently obsessed with is Juan Francisco Casas.  Casas creates realist portraiture, candid moments of his socialite friends in the drunken and often sordid context of night life.  So what’s the process?  They are all rendered in photographic precision with nothing more than a ball point pen.  Let me correct myself…a LOT OF BALL POINT PENS.  His pieces’ average size is around 3 meters (or 10 feet) and around 14 pens are used per image.  This process concept is so simple, yet one that can be easily appreciated for its ingenuity with a completely common-place medium.  Enclosed is Casas’ link.  Enjoy!

-Joel Sager



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