Working primarily with charcoal and graphite on paper, self-taught artist Arinze Stanley creates hyperreal portraits that highlight the African existence as a catalyst for social change and political activism. By addressing humanitarian issues both in his hometown and worldwide, such as modern day slavery and women’s rights, he uses his art to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. As a result, his lifesize drawings trigger an intense emotional connection between subjects and viewers.
In this new body of work Stanley explores human nature and the connection between all living things. He wants viewers' eyes to pour over the details of each composition and establish a kinship with his subject's expressions, moods and emotions. Ideally, this will foster an out of body experience in which viewers perceive themselves in an alternative reality. The artist describes this journey as “a first class ride on seeing yourself from outside the box and in the image of others.”
Stanley recognizes “the three P” - patience, practice and persistence - as what’s guided his journey as an artist and allowed him to master hyperrealism. He elaborates, “It's sort of like an energy transfer. I transfer my energy into a blank piece of paper through my pencils and it becomes art." The artist hopes this intense energy exchange will foster an artist-viewer bond and establish conversations of love and understanding.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Arinze Stanley was born in 1993 in Lagos, Nigeria and graduated from Imo state University with a Bachelor’s of Engineering in agricultural engineering. Being exposed to his family’s paper business at a young age, the artist grew to love paper and pencils as his toys and taught himself how to master both. He first exhibited his work in 2016 at Omenka Gallery (Nigeria). The following year he was awarded the American Art Award for World’s Best Self Portrait and debuted his work in the United States at SCOPE Miami.