Meet Joe Black and His Pixelated Portraits
Ellen Yoshi Tani
The orchid is the most highly coveted of ornamental plants. In ancient Greece the flower was associated with virility, reverence and humility; it also represents love, luxury, beauty and strength. In these cropped compositions of the orchid, the form of the flower is outlined by soft lines of tonal graduation, created by over 10,000 soldiers individually positioned.
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