Meet Joe Black and His Pixelated Portraits
Ellen Yoshi Tani
Katharine Hepburn led a fiercely independent way of life; she was selfassured and provocative. She epitomised “the modern woman” in 20th century America. This slightly unflattering portrait of Hepburn plays on her complexities: her striking feminine looks, the toughness of her personality and her sharp edges. The nuts and bolts reflect her hardiness, while the colours lend a softness to the form of her face.
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