What’s On: James Mylne presents A Decade of Shady Business

A fine artist will present a series of new ballpoint artworks as part of a London solo exhibition in December.

James Mylne, from Battersea, specialises in photo-realism through using ballpoint pens on paper and is considered a pioneer in the field.

A Decade of Shady Business celebrates 10 years of Mylne’s innovative ballpoint art and sees the artist unveil a series of new works that address themes and issues close to his heart.

Last month, Mr Mylne’s Joker Johnson artwork hit the headlines and sold to a collector within hours of it appearing in the press and social media.

The illustration became a viral phenomenon capturing the public mood as the Prime Minister made history and fresh enemies in equal measure as he controversially prorogue Parliament and failed to secure a deal on Brexit.

The sketch of the Prime Minister as the infamous Joker seemed to achieve instant cult status with Joker Johnson placards appearing all over October’s Brexit marches last month and this month appearing on the front of German current affairs magazine VIEW.

James said: “The whole Brexit thing is a bit of a bad joke…but like the Joker I believe there is a sadistic side to Boris beneath all the foolishness.”

James’s damning portrayal of Brazilian Prime Minister Bolsonaro sees the controversial world leader captured with the flames of the Amazon pouring from his eyes.

“During the worst of the recent Amazon fires I actually lost sleep thinking about Bolsonaro’s attitude towards it all,” said James. “It seemed quite evil to me.”

Mylne will be unveiling more new works in the coming weeks ahead of his exhibition including an image of Donald Trump.

Mylne says Biros appeal to him due to the huge level of concentration required to complete each drawing.

Mistakes cannot be rectified, and any errors result in the artist having to start the piece again.

“Ballpoint pens are everywhere,” said James. “Scattered over desks at work or school, on counters at your post office or bank, and under your sofa.

“No one owns them really, ubiquitous, disposable, and pretty much free.

“The simple engineering and design behind them is so efficient and durable that they haven’t needed a design change in decades.

“I remember the moment, aged about 15 or 16 when I figured out how to use them for creating soft tones and effective shading.

“It was a bit of a eureka moment.

“Up to that point I’d loved using the pens, but it was mostly just for sketchbook work.

“It made satisfyingly sharp, bold lines, crisp outlines and comic like graphics and imagery.”

James Mylne’s A Decade of Shady Business exhibition will open on December 12 at the Fitzrovia Gallery in Fitzrovia and run until December 19.

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