Nigerian born, Alabama raised artist Toyin Odutola is making a firm indent in the art fraternity with her crafted multi-layered, textured black ballpoint pen illustrations. Represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, the 28 year old’s growing popularity has also earned her a spot on the 2012 Forbes ‘Art & Style’ 30 under 30 list.
Toyin Odutola’s work plays with perceptions of identity, questioning the construction of race and the politics of skin colour: “Where some may see flat, static narratives, I see a spectrum of tonal gradations and realities. What I am creating is literally black portraiture with ballpoint pen ink. I’m looking for that in-between state in an individual where the overarching definition is lost.”
The Gauging Tone collection continues the narrative construction theme. By creating inversions of her usual aesthetic using black paper and a metallic pen to define lines and negative space, Toyin looks at the contentious issue of the ‘black-on-black’ gaze.
Very much a 21st century artist, Toyin openly shares her process on social media (Instagram) and blogs her work; providing insight for her audience a direct reference point and living archive for herself.
Fresh off the Miami Art Basel trail, Toyin’s work is currently exhibiting at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Brooklyn, NY (Group Exhibition) and the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, IN (Solo Exhibition) until January 2014.