Precise pencil artist draws on awards success

28 January 2013

Drawing of Tinie Tempah by Kelvin Okafor

Middlesex fine art graduate causing a stir in the art world

Artist Kelvin Okafor, whose accurate drawings are often mistaken for photographs, is making waves in the art world after scooping a number of national awards and exhibiting at galleries across the country. 

The Middlesex University Fine Art graduate spends around 80-100 hours to complete his amazing pencil drawings over approximately three weeks in the studio.  The genre is known as ‘photo-realism’ and Kelvin creates his detailed work based on a mixture of life and photographs. 

The highly skilled 27-year old has already had more than 50 commissions and is generating a buzz at galleries he exhibits at and online. One of his recent accolades, The Catherine Petitgas Visitors’ Choice Prize part of the National Open Art Competition, was awarded to Kelvin after he received the most votes from the public.  Kelvin has also recently been selected as one of the top two pieces of work in Cork Street Gallery Open Exhibition Winter Show.  

Click to watch the videoDrawing a number of celebrities, colleagues and friends, Kelvin’s work is rapidly gaining a large following and has seen him get selected to exhibit at the Works on Paper/Watercolour Fair at the popular London Science Museum this week from 31 January to 3 February 2013.

The Tottenham based artist said: “I’ve always been creative, but fell in love with using pencils in particular.  It was only when my images started to create a buzz with other Middlesex University students that I realised their impact.”    

Before even starting a piece, Kelvin spends a few days analysing a photo, concentrating firstly on the subject’s eyes as he shapes the portrait through them due to their importance to the piece.  Starting from £5,000, each of his pieces of work sells for on average £8,000-£10,000 dependent on the scale. 

“The attention I’m receiving is surreal and hasn’t really sunk in yet.  I’m usually sheltered from it in my studio as I continue to build my portfolio, but I’m really humbled and honoured that so many people appreciate my work.  I hope to have my own gallery in the future,” added Kelvin.  

View more of Kelvin Okafor's photos 

Hear more about Kelvin's work

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