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.

Terence Koh, Artist
"I think he's one of the greatest artists of our time, and it's only so often that artists like him, with that kind of potential, come along. I did two versions of him; one was a smaller one, where he's just wearing a T-shirt, which is more of a real portrait. In the other one he is wearing a big coat, and his figure becomes more sculptural than just a normal, human figure."

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