Joo Lee Kang in Architectural Digest

These Incredible Works of Art Are Created with Ballpoint Pens
By Stefanie Waldek

When it comes to fine art, there can be a bit of a hierarchy when it comes to the medium.

We typically think of oil paints, charcoal, and bronze, to name a few, as some of the ultimate tools for creating a masterpiece. But the lowly ballpoint pen? The workhorse of writers and doodlers everywhere, it’s not commonly thought of as a fine art medium. In his new book Ballpoint Art (Laurence King, $25), author Trent Morse belies that notion, looking at 30 contemporary artists who champion the pen in their pieces. Works range from still lifes to portraits to abstraction, proving that the simple medium is surprisingly versatile. “For decades, artists all over the world have been testing the capabilities of ballpoint and flirting with its symbolism as the writing tool of Everyman,” Morse writes in his author’s note. “My research also revealed that very few curators, critics, gallerists, or academics had ever homed in on ballpoint as medium.” Here, discover some of the amazingly intricate ballpoint artworks featured in the book.