Meet Joe Black and His Pixelated Portraits
Ellen Yoshi Tani
The badges, commonly used in Blacks’ work, each depict a solarised nude. The reversal of dark tones to light and vice versa (an effect created in a photographic darkroom onto negatives) along with the choice of shocking pink and blue, creates an electrifying colour palette and abstracts the female forms. Seen together, the result is like looking at a Victorian tattooed woman, her skin carrying the colours of the tattoo artist’s ink.
Joe Black’s work is the vanguard of the current Pop Art movement. He describes his works as “revealing the unexpected” as they are viewed both from a distance and up close to make the ordinary extraordinary. Black combines his natural craft skills with a love of materials - many of which are recognizable everyday objects - to create portraits and abstract works. Using a laborious technique of hand painting and altering each tiny object to give gentle lines and shading to his subjects, Black has pioneered an elaborate new form of pixilation that he uses to hide subtle implications within each of his images. This is perhaps best illustrated by his use of 5,500 plastic toy soldiers in his depiction of Robert Capa’s iconic boy soldier piece Made in China (2011).
British, b. 1973