On the section marked “Giant Drawing” on Sergio Barrale’s website, a factoid provides a sense of the hardship that goes into each portrait: “500-700 pencils died in the process of making these works.” Look into any corner of Sergio’s “faces,” and you’ll believe him.
These graphite renderings, some larger than the artist himself, have an immersive quality that fulfills with every angle. Whether you step back and take in their weathered expressions or stare inches away into a far corner, there are thousands of lines that absorb you. It’s the kind of texturing that makes you want to touch it, yet you feel you might want to ask permission from its vulnerable subjects first.
Yet, Barrale’s work extends past this meditation on aged and multi-textured visages. He also has a knack for what exists underneath the skin and flesh, revealing haunting skulls consume and overlap one another.
A timelapse video on Barrale’s YouTube account does answer that lingering question: Wouldn’t this process get messy? Surely, that’s why he wears the gloves. The minute-and-a-half video gives us a look inside his process, slowly crafting a hyper-detailed, painstaking creation before our eyes. And in the end, we see the word “Blamo!” pops up on the screen. Because what else can be said?
See more of the artist’s process and finished works on his Instagram. As shown below, recent works have garnered pops of color.