What These Artists Do with Ballpoint Pens Is Unreal

Artists Kai & Sunny turn straight lines into straight-up hypnotic artworks.

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Mar 10 2016, 2:10pm


Whirlwind of Time (section), Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists

The ballpoint pen may be a humble tool for creating art (although it has earned its place in MoMA's permanent collection) but that doesn't mean to say you can't do fascinating things with it. UK-based artists Kai & Sunny have used them for their hypnotizing artworks in their latest exhibition Whirlwind of Time at Stolen Space gallery in London.

Taking inspiration from the natural world and the patterns and forms it manifests, the duo explore, "the turning of tides, changing weather and time for reflection," taking these natural occurences and designs to "magnify and stylize the things that are plainly visible to us but are often overlooked." The work also "revolves around the passage of time" and this is reflected in the process of creating the images, which are made using straight lines drawn with a ruler, building them up into spellbinding geometric complexities using the colored ballpoint pens. 

The artists have previously collaborated with the Alexander McQueen brand, Shepard Fairey, and have designed book covers for British author David Mitchell—writer of novels Cloud Atlas, number9dream, and others. Mitchell has written a short story in relation to the exhibition called My Eye On You which features a character from one of his novels The Bone Clocks who can change time. Talking to The Guardian Mitchell says he was inspired to write the story after being sent a print from the exhibition which “felt like it was a picture of God’s retina." The story is on display next to the print.

You can check out some images from the exhibition below.


Continued Wave, Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists


Continued Wave (section), Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists


Spin Circle, Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists


Spin Circle (section), Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists


Split Circle, Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists
Split Circle (section), Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists
Vasarely Circle, Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists
Vasarely Circle (section), Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists
Whirwind of Time, Kai & Sunny. Image courtesy of the artists

Whirlwind of Time is on now until April 10, 2016 at Stolen Space, 17 Osborn Street, London.

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