“Where some may see flat, static narratives, I see a spectrum of tonal gradations and realities,” says Toyin Odutola. “What I am creating is literally black portraiture with ballpoint pen ink.”
Obviously, the Nigerian-born, Alabama-raised artist is not one to shy away from race and playing up a subject’s skin tone. She instead refers to it as “geography” and “terrain”, which she further “expands by emphasizing the specificity of blackness, where an individual’s subjectivity, various realities, and experiences can be drawn onto the diverse topography of the epidermis. From there, the possibilities of portraying a fully-fledged person are endless.”
Although Toyin does include color in her other pieces as well, it’s this amazing ability to create depth and texture in a primarily dark portfolio that makes her stand out the most.