Nigerian artist “draws” hyper-realistic portraits by burning the wooden canvas

Each work of art is a powerful piece that invites reflection

Nigerian artist Alex Peter Idoko creates exquisite drawings without using pencil, ink, or brush. Instead, the 30-year-old artist uses pyrography, or wood burning, to bring his works to life. With this unconventional technique, he masterfully ignites the delicate textures of people’s skin and hair until they resemble hyper-realistic portraits.

Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Idoko has been passionate about the art of portraiture since he was in school. While his practice began with graphite, charcoal, and pastel, he eventually turned to the art of pyrography for its powerful visual effects.

This process requires him to burn the surface of the wood with a torch until he achieves the desired shade, occasionally using a knife to scrape off the excess. His portfolio of work ranges from conventional portraiture to surreal depictions emphasizing black histories.

“The jobs [de Idoko] refer to African realities, he is primarily concerned with writing, rebranding and editing black history by bringing black people from all continents into the spotlight while accessing the issues and challenges around them and also establishing positive images that would serve as a keeping in mind to the new generation [de] born and unborn africans/blacks,” it says on the artist’s website.

“These artworks are created to give a voice to all who lack the power to speak in the public domain on sensitive issues affecting humanity, which they then cleverly execute as realism.”