Paint It Black: Robert Knoke's Portraits of the Hipster Avant-Garde

November 8, 2010
German artist Robert Knoke may be known to the contemporary art world as a traditional portraitist, but unlike his forbears he's not interested in prettifying stuffed shirts. Instead, Knoke trains his ballpoint pen and markers on an unruly universe of hipsters, avant-garde artists, and visionaries, including Patti Smith and Marc Jacobs, rendering them in stark, expressive images. Here, Knoke walks us through eight of his most representative portraits, all of which can be found in his book 00 Volume 01: Black Material, hitting bookshelves this month.

Lawrence Weiner, Conceptual Artist
"I meet these people and take their photos—that's what the portraits are based on. The meeting is quite quick. I'm looking for a certain kind of subject that I can reflect on—people who I can see parts of myself in. It becomes more of a self-portrait, through other people. I'm not interested in drawing myself, but when you look through the whole book, you can get a sense of what I am without me having to show my own face."

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