Using colored pencils to create art is nothing new — unless you’re talking about the work of Federico Uribe, a Miami-based conceptual artist who uses the writing instruments as his material in Pencilism, a series of strange, eye-catching portraits of people and animals. Whether he’s fastening them together with plastic zip-ties to make sculptures or laying them out flat in textured “paintings,” the results are equally bizarre and stunning, revealing Uribe’s skill in repurposing common objects in surprising ways, a process that he compares to playing with clouds as a kid.
“Growing up, I never thought that this was art — I thought it was just entertainment,” he explained in this recent interview. “It took me a long time to understand that it was what other people considered art. I painted traditional paintings related to religion and sexuality, painful paintings, and then one day I decided that I couldn’t do that anymore and decided to start playing with objects… With time I learned that celebrating life was better than complaining about it, and so I do work that is intentionally celebrating life. Making people smile and remember that there is beauty out there, if you’re looking for it.”
Visit Uribe’s website to be delighted by more of his fascinating work, which includes elaborate pieces that he has constructed with athletic shoes, plastic forks, and coins.
Image credit: Federico Uribe