Once in a while you come across an artist whose creativity goes well beyond what we can see, and into the realm of a genius. Chris Berens is one such artist and I am honored to be able to showcase his art on this site. You can instantly be drawn to the vast imagination of his surrealist art with humanoid forms, familiar yet alien creatures placed sometimes on earth and other times in a fantastical world. The details are simply astounding with a photorealistic quality and a real sense of depth and dimensionality. His unique process is the secret behind these stunning images and the reason I consider him to be one of the most creative artists out there. Clearly Chris can draw extremely well, but what you may not realize from just looking at his work is that there is a lot more to his technique than just drawing with ink.
Chris starts with printing paper which has 3 layers; a paper layer, emulsion layer and a plastic layer. He tapes it onto a wood panel then starts drawing with ink whatever image that comes to mind, usually a face or body part of a creature. The ink takes roughly 2 days to dry, so he can manipulate areas of the drawing to his taste even “erasing” or removing parts that he does not like. Once he is happy with the drawing he uses a blow dryer to dry and set the ink. He usually applies layers of varnish over the ink after this process. He separates off the plastic layer resulting in a transparent drawing. He will draw the same image this exact way 15 or more times then layers the plastic drawings on top of each other. Since the drawings are transparent, the layering creates almost a silhouetting effect giving depth to the image. The back of this is usually painted with white ink or left alone depending on Chris’ vision. Finally, he glues this finished element onto the wood panel and begins drawing the other elements based off of that starting piece. He repeats this process for every element until the wood panel is covered and hence resulting in a finished piece.
When you check out his work in our gallery, you can faintly see all the individual squares that make up the complete artwork. I also attached the video that shows his process because it is truly remarkable and my explanation does not do him justice. I highly recommend you checking out the other videos I linked below for some inspiration and some insight into the mind of this incredible artist.