The front cover image that captured thousands of hearts and imagination yet many were surprised to learn this was not a photograph but a pencil drawing.
Such talent has earned Okafor recognition and acclaim and yet he remains humble to his craft. Editions Black Lifestyle Magazine captures the growing spirit of entrepreneurship and dedication of a young Black generation striving for excellence. Read the full interview here. He draws out the character and reaches into the heart of his chosen subjects melting the hearts of all who perceive them.
From as early as he could remember, Kelvin Okafor has always been an emotional and highly sensitive individual. Inspired, touched and captivated by almost everything in his immediate surroundings. Around the age of 8, Okafor vividly remembers having a love and strong fascination for drawing with pencils. He found the instrument to be a humble one and would often use the expression ‘aliveness’ to describe it’s technical and sentimental value. What fascinated him most about pencils was that with single shades of lead, he could create tones and textures so defined and so abstract, an illusion of colour would be formed before him. He became heavily inspired by this notion and spent most of his early years trying to utilise its technical capabilities.
The style in which Okafor creates his portraits is known as Hyper-realism. Art Critic, Estelle Lovatt describes his work as “Emotional Realism.” She mentions how the work of Okafor goes beyond being just photorealist drawings, and instead coins the term Emotional Realism to describe the affective nature of his artwork.
“I love to draw faces. Each face to me tells an intriguing story regardless of age, gender, race or background. In the process of putting pencil to paper, I begin by drawing in sections/stages. Since I was a child I have always created drawings this way. I visually dissect facial features – I study them and then I put them back together like pieces in a puzzle. This method of creating helps me understand expressions and also helps me appreciate the lengthy process each portrait drawing takes.”