Is it a drawing? No. Is it a photograph? No. It’s a biccture!
Created by photographer Kieron Hayter and his partner, artist Kirsten Shenton-Smith, a biccture is an innovative portrait with one half drawn in blue ballpoint pen and the other half a photograph.
Although the ballpoint work is exquisite and the transition almost seamless, the blue tinge gives the face a slightly schizophrenic quality and the work an extra dimension.
Shenton-Smith says she first got into ballpoint pens while travelling with Kieron through Europe and Vietnam, where she packed light with just a few things including a journal and biro.
“I sketched along the way, scenery and people, and became intrigued how well the ink flowed, how beautiful everything looked in blue and how fast I could draw with a simple ballpoint pen,” she says.
“Kieron started challenging me to 10 minute sketches which I then included in an exhibition inspired by our travels, that I held later in that same year.
“Since then I have predominantly been drawing in ballpoint pen and in 2019 I became a full time artist.”
Aside from the hybrid portraits in their exhibition We both have a Point, there will also be about 15 solo pieces by Shenton-Smith, created by drawing directly onto wooden panels with a Bic medium ballpoint pen.
“For this series I have drawn directly onto wooden panels using a Bic medium ballpoint pen,” she says.
“The subject matter ranges from books to old boots, socks on a clothes line, to spaghetti wrapped around a fork, just to name a few.
“I have previously exhibited my explorative process pieces on paper and canvas, so this current series is the result of the challenge to draw on wood.”
Shenton-Smith grew up on a farm in Quairading in the Wheatbelt, before moving to Tasmania in her 30s and then finally settling in Freo.
“After living in Hobart, a beautiful historic wharf city with a vibrant art community, the relocation to WA focused on Fremantle to maintain the lifestyle Kieron and I had grown to love,” she says.
“Close to water, surrounded by creatives, with a historic backdrop. We now call East Fremantle home.”
A keen photographer since the age of seven, Hayter has worked as a geologist for the past 27 years and spends a lot of his time on WA mine sites, where he takes interesting snaps of the landscape.
His mining shots proved so popular he started kieronhphotography in 2008, where companies can buy his photos for presentations and reports.
But Hayter’s first love was art photography and his work has been featured in several WA exhibitions, and he has won or been highly commended in numerous art competitions including the Canning Art Award.
“My first photos were art and portraiture to be framed and viewed for their aesthetic,” Hayter says.
“I held exhibitions to bring my friends together socially. I didn’t sell them because l didn’t want anyone to feel they had to buy them.
“While driving around WA for work and play, I have made a collection of landscape photos, night skies, beaches, trees, fish. I really love anything if the light is right and I will have a couple of those on show.
“Mainly I take a lot of portraits and love the opportunity when I find any willing subjects.”
We Both have a Point will also feature solo photos by Hayter as well as an ad hoc photo studio where people can get their portrait taken.
We Both have a Point is at Earlywork Gallery, 330 South Terrace South Fremantle, from September 15-25. For more info see earlywork.gallery
by STEPHEN POLLOCK