In today’s art world, the place of the king of beasts seems to be occupied by a computer. This artist’s tool has generated countless examples of digital art, media art, multimedia art… and counting. The reign of this lion has reached such proportions that the arts as we used to know them, such as painting, sculpture or graphics, would become all but obsolete, were it not for some artists who staunchly adhere to old school and skill.
One of them is Alexander Valdman who excels in creating artworks with the commonest (and rarest) of artist’s tools: a ballpoint pen. Armed with it, he is capable of achieving the blackest modulations of dark and the whitest shades of pale in his unique works on paper. This technique demands exactness and assuredness, for a pen, unlike a pencil, leaves no margin for error. Sometimes the artist introduces color with insertions of collage or touches of gouache, but this only accentuates the black-and-white glory of his subjects, be it heroes, like gladiators, or the vilest of philistines, like characters of Sologub’s “Shabby Demon”. Academic background and incredible imagination of Valdman make the mouse-of-a-ballpoint-pen roar with the power that might shatter the reigning computer screens.