Artist Carmen Verdi developed a passion for creating graphite drawings of busy city streets, using a technique that involves thousands of freehand pencil lines.
After my release from the Massachusetts House of Corrections in January of 2006, my life changed.
I no longer had to draw on the back of intake forms or random white pieces of paper. I no longer had to look at block walls and barred windows while sketching pencil portraits. My drawings were no longer bartered for Ramen noodles, bagged tuna or coffee.
During the years following 2006, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I began sketching as much as possible, although my work was more like chicken scratch. Most of my work at the time was tonal or crosshatch pencil drawings. I dabbled with pen and ink, watercolor and acrylics for a little while, but I found my love in graphite.
My drawings are created with thousands of pencil lines that I make with a mechanical pencil, working freehand, without the use of a ruler. I work on sheets of cotton white paper on a large drafting table in my studio based in Nashua, New Hampshire. Each of my art works need between 30 hours to 250 hours to complete from sketch to finish.
In 2011, I created my first full drawing scene, “The Manhattan Rush,” which I completed using a technique I call linellism (graphite pencil straight lines). This drawing shows a chaotic, yet organized, group of people in their environment going about their busy day in New York City.
The emotion I experienced when I finished this work was something I had never experienced before. When I completed this drawing I knew that I wanted to be a figurative artist, although I had created various nature and object drawings, too.
I couldn’t stop examining the people that I had created in my drawings. I could feel their emotions and motivations, and literally began telling stories to my wife about each individual in the art as if I knew them personally.
In 2014, I began showing my work at local art exhibits, fairs and anywhere else I could display my work. The viewers at the exhibits were amazed by the work I was creating and they wanted more. I began drawing more.
I eventually created a website and began showing my work in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York in an effort to become known outside of my studio.
Today, I continue to create figurative drawings showing the hustle and bustle of city streets and will be working on my first series in 2020. My goal as a figurative artist is to tell a story, to create characters that my viewers can relate to and understand like I do. I want to make a movie—with pencil lines!
Link to Carolyn’s original article here.back