Alessandro’s Larger than Life Black Ink Pen Drawings

Alessandro Paglia tells stories about the world, their personalities, the ingenuity of their creators and their hidden world using intense black ink pen to amplify the interplay between the natural light and his chosen subject.

Dec 06, 2017 | By Andrea Sim

Alessandro ‘s Larger than Life Black Ink Pen Drawings

Milan-born Alessandro Paglia has always been fascinated by the power and elegance of black and white across disciplines from fine arts and photography to artworks in various mediums such as black ink pen on cotton paper and rough grain paper.

With an education in product design plus ten years of working experience in the same field, Alessandro says: “Objects attract me, in particular their aesthetics, textures, materials, volumes. I feel inspired by the stories they tell, their personalities, the ingenuity of their creators, their hidden world. At some point of my life I felt that I had to combine these two passions.”

Black ink pen on cotton paper technique

Unlike pencil, using black ink pen on cotton paper, allows Alessandro to get a rich, vivid texture with a vibrant touch within his art composition. He says: “You can achieve a very intense black by means of which the contrasts and plays of light strongly emerge.” Especially on rough surface paper, it further accentuates this effect.

The technique he uses is rather simple yet quite labourious, says Alessandro. “I draw the subject with the pen, many pens for each illustration actually, by superimposing a layer of chaotic lines on top of another, until I get the right nuances in even the smallest details.” He has experimented pens with felt-tipped, intense fade-resistant water-proof black pigment with tips ranging from 0.1 to 0.8mm. The paper is extra white and weighs 640 g per sqm.

The process of the photoshoot can be tedious and certainly not as simple as what it seems to be

To help him get started on his art venture, he chooses a subject of his interest, arrange it in a photographic studio and take a photoshoot. Alessandro has to shoot a few tens of photographs before he gets that perfect image in terms of composition, contrasts, lights and shadows.

After which, he says: “I meticulously reproduce it with technical black ink pen on rough grain paper.” All drawings are original and drawn by hand, and each takes about 50 to 250 hours to complete. “Normally I do not just reproduce an object as it is, but with simple interventions such as a special coating, a deformation, the combination with other objects I want to get a surprise, a ‘twist’ on the story that the object recounts,” he adds.

Alessandro’s subjects center around design history and pop culture objects – something that people are more familiar with. His artworks are a reflection of his own experience and memories and he finds a way to show those works in a specific context that people can immediately relate to in a personal and unique way.

“When we find these objects in a new context, this increases the element of surprise,” he concludes.

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