Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley has been drawing for as long as he can remember.
Remarkably, however, he has never had any training, an especially admirable fact given the meticulous detail and technical mastery of his hyperrealist portraits. “I’ve managed by the grace of God to discipline myself in the art of drawing,” Stanley wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.
When it comes to his art practice, anything can serve as inspiration, so long as it evokes a certain emotional response. As Stanley put it: “I draw inspiration from life experiences and basically everything that sparks a feeling of necessity, I love to express deep and strong emotions, as I find them most attractive.”
Mostly, Stanley draws close-up portraits of human faces, which end up looking more true to life than any black-and-white photograph could. Every pore, every nostril hair, every bead of sweat and eyelid wrinkle is dutifully translated to the page, producing images that seem to capture more detail than our very own eyes.
For his drawings, Stanley uses both charcoal and graphite pencils, experimenting with techniques that include cross-hatching and scribbling to yield images as lifelike as possible. “Basically, it just flows through me into the paper,” he described.
When Stanley recounts his artistic process, he sounds almost as if he enters a trance-like state. “Sometimes it’s almost like I’m not in control of my pencil,” he said, “sort of like energy transfer. Most times I feel like I transfer my energy into a blank piece of paper through my pencils and it just becomes art.”
The moral of the story is that you don’t need to go to art school to create images so detailed they put reality to shame. You just need a sharp supply of pencils and well, a lot of talent and patience.
Watch Stanley’s process in the images below, and head to his Instagram for more.
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