Patience is a virtue for young artist's new solo show
Artist Kelvin Okafor who took the world by storm last year with his detailed photo-like pencil portraits has seen his debut solo exhibition open in Mayfair.
The Middlesex University Fine Art graduate has won numerous awards for his highly detailed drawings which each take more than 100 hours to create. Okafor was catapulted onto the world stage in 2013 and has continued to captivate both the general public and seasoned art collectors ever since.
Working with nothing more than charcoal and graphite, the young north Londoner captures the inner essence of his subjects whether they are famous celebrities, friends or family members. The Guardian put Okafor alongside past masters Vermeer and Caravaggio.
Art critic and writer, Estelle Lovatt remarks that Okafor's work goes far beyond the traditional definitions of hyper or photo realism, creating a new movement of its own which she terms Emotional Realism. "More than just resembling the model, Okafor secures and communicates the sitter's emotional focus; their inner essence. Okafor's Emotional-Realism transcribes a different sort of 'energy'; a living energy that leaps off his paper, towards you, prompting and promoting an emotion from both you and the sitter."
The pursuit of perfection is the main driving force behind Okafor's works. He is preoccupied in painstakingly capturing and conveying the expressions and gestures of his subjects and is therefore not surprisingly a strong believer in patience being a virtue. The length of time required to create the finished drawing is of far less concern than Okafor's need to take the work to the highest possible level of execution. This is a message he communicates to young artists in sell out workshops and talks at both Tate Britain and Tate Modern, as well as, awards ceremonies, schools and colleges.
Middlesex University graduate Kelvin Okafor (28) said: "It's overwhelming, but a tremendous honour to see my body of work on the walls of such a prestigious gallery.
"I'm grateful to have gained recognition at such a young age. It's incredible to have supporters across the globe and over 50,000 followers on both my Facebook and Instagram. I really appreciate them."
The month long exhibition, 'Portraits' in Mayfair's Albemarle Gallery is running from 9-31 May.
Kelvin Okafor with his self portrait