Meet Joe Black and His Pixelated Portraits
Ellen Yoshi Tani
This portrait is an homage to the artist Ai Weiwei. As an artist and political activist his work combines a desire for justice, democracy and freedom of thought and action for the people of China. In the tradition of using the ‘readymade’, he will use historical objects from China to create a modern aesthetic loaded with meaning. Weiwei’s multi-media art is always made to affect social change and uncover government corruption.
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