Nigerian artist Alex Peter Idoko creates exquisite drawings without the use of a pencil, pen, or paintbrush. Instead, the 30-year-old artist utilizes pyrography—or wood burning—to bring his subjects to life. With this unconventional technique, he masterfully renders the delicate textures of people’s skin and hair with fire until they resemble hyperrealistic portraits.
Originally, from Lagos, Nigeria, Idoko has been passionate about portrait art since he was a student. While his practice began in graphite, charcoal, and pastel, he eventually gravitated towards pyrography art for its powerful visual effects. This process requires him to torch the surface of wood until he achieves the desired darkness, occasionally relying on a razor to scrape away excess. His portfolio of work ranges from conventional portraiture to surrealist depictions emphasizing Black stories.
“[Idoko’s] works reference African realities, he primarily concerns himself with writing, rebranding, and editing the Black story by bringing to the limelight Blacks of every continent while accessing issues and challenges that surround them and also setting positive images that would serve as a bearing to the new generation [of] African/Blacks born and unborn,” it says on the artist’s website. “These artworks are created to lend voice to all who lack the power to speak in the public domain about sensitive issues that affect humanity, which he then skillfully executes as realism.”
Nigerian artist Alex Peter Idoko “draws” hyperrealistic portraits by burning wood in a process called pyrography art.
This involves torching and scraping a piece of wood (the canvas) until he achieves realistic textures.
Each incredible artwork is a powerful, thought-provoking piece.
Viewers are encouraged to to take a deep look at Idoko’s work, though it may feel hard at times.
Watch this video for more insight into Idoko’s process:
This is how I draw with Fire on wood. Progress stage pic.twitter.com/g8fu8cRe0h
— AlexPeter_Idoko (@Alexpeter_idoko) April 4, 2022
A new progress stage of me drawing with Fire on wood.
Mixed medium, Fire x charcoal on wood pic.twitter.com/MxuTGJnLfS
— AlexPeter_Idoko (@Alexpeter_idoko) April 25, 2022