Look again, this is not a photo: South Woodford artist unveils amazing drawings

PUBLISHED: 13:06 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:06 16 September 2019

Kelvin with his drawing

Kelvin with his drawing


An artist unveiled a highly detailed pencil portrait to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album.

This is not a photo. The Beatles signer and songwriter was etched in pencil.This is not a photo. The Beatles signer and songwriter was etched in pencil.

Kelvin Okafor, of South Woodford, revealed his meticulously detailed drawing of John Lennon which he calls his "most ambitious" piece to date at a week-long exhibition at the Mall Galleries London.

The composition took a staggering 215 hours to draw and Kelvin used only graphite and charcoal pencils to capture the legendary singer, songwriter.

"It was a joy to draw a man who gave so much through his music and acts, which saw him branded as a 'man of peace'," he said.

"After an extensive search to select an image to draw, this one resonated the most with me as it was an expression I felt depicted the essence of his personality and his intent to spread peace and love through artistry."

Kelvin meeting and greeting visitors at his event.Kelvin meeting and greeting visitors at his event.

Kelvin's distinctive style combines photo-realism with a powerful emotive quality, which art critic Estelle Lovatt termed "emotional realism".

He will spend days analysing a photo, studying his subjects and watching their videos and interviews to immerse himself in their character, aiming to bring it to life in his portraits.

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The impressive portrait formed part of his exhibition showcasing a selection of his drawings from the past 10 years.

Pieces in the collection have earned him numerous awards nationwide, applause from art critics and were key pieces in his journey as a portrait artist.

The exhibition also featured a portrait of the late Bernie Grant MP, commissioned by the House of Commons and his first muse "Mia" - his friend's daughter who he has sketched every two years since she was three.

Speaking about the huge crowds that visited his collection, Kelvin said: "The exhibition exceeded my greatest expectations.

"I was deeply moved by the reception of the general public.

"I was honoured to have schools visit the show as I had the opportunity to plant a seed of hope and courage in the heart of young creatives."

The artist was featured on the BBC last week speaking about his work, exhibition and how he hopes to encourage young people in schools to draw.

He will shortly begin a tour of schools giving motivational talks and speaking about his experiences.

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