Sugarlift Events:"Ballpoint" by Guno Park

Sugarlift Events:
"Ballpoint" by Guno Park

Posted by Bartlomiej Piela /

Art Show at Sugarlift Celebrates the Art of Drawing with a Ballpoint Pen

Friday, January 15, 2016 from 6-9 pm


(January 4, 2016) BROOKLYN, NEW YORK -- Many artists think of drawing as a “practice run,” or a medium of experimentation, with tentative lines sketched in pencil, and always capable of being altered or erased. An art show soon to open at Sugarlift in Brooklyn challenges this notion, as the twelve artists whose work is included all believe their best drawings are made with the indelible mark of a ballpoint pen.

“Ballpoint,” which opens from 6 to 9 pm on Friday, January 15, and will be exhibited until February 8, 2016, includes the work of twelve artists: listed alphabetically, they are Dina Brodsky, Ian Healy, Danica Lundy, Shane McAdams, John O'Reilly, Mu Pan, Guno Park, Kristofer Porter, Matt Rota, Nicolas Sanchez, Raphael Sassi and Wade Schuman.

Though it is now considered a cheap and disposable writing tool, the invention of the ballpoint pen was considered a revolution in graphics and written communication to a world on the cusp of World War II.

The ballpoint pen was patented in 1938 by László József Bíró, a Hungarian journalist. As Bíró spent long hours writing and editing copy for newspapers in Budapest, he grew increasingly frustrated over the amount of time he wasted refilling his foundation pen with ink -- not to mention how many pages became ruined when this slow-drying ink became smudged. Working alongside his brother, György, who was a chemist, the two men envisioned a viscous, quick-drying ink, laid down in a smooth even line by a tiny ball which rolled around in a reservoir of ink held in the pen’s cartridge. In many parts of the world, (such as the United Kingdom, Italy and Australia), the ballpoint pen is still called a “Biro” in honor of its inventor.

This ease of ink flow, which is both constant and instantaneous, makes the ballpoint pen a useful tool for artists, too. A canvas has to be prepped, even a pencil needs to be sharpened; but with a ballpoint pen, there is no barrier to immediate artistic expression.

"Contrary to the 'restrictive' idea of drawing in ink, my ballpoint pen drawings offer a sense of freedom,” says Nicholas Sanchez, one of the artists represented in the group show. “There is no preliminary pencil drawing. I start with pen and just keep drawing. It pushes me to become more disciplined and develop a sense of agility when working with ink. I can not erase or undo the drawing, thus avoiding doubt in the drawing process."

Raphael Sassi, another artist in the show, believes the easy availability of ballpoint pens creates bravado and a certain fearlessness in engaging the expressive power of deliberate mark-making.

“A ballpoint pen is not a rarified thing. Your art supply store become Staples and Office Depot,” says Sassi. “It offers a pared down manner of approaching the world which you observe. With simple and easily acquired tools of paper and a ballpoint pen, you can furtively dart around museums, public spaces, public transportation avoiding any trip wires as you document your surroundings. You get to play the spy, repurposing a tool for some subversive end.”

“Ballpoint,” will also celebrate the launch of a new book, The Art of Ballpoint (Murdoch Books) by one of the art show’s participating artists, Matt Rota. This book offers a historical perspective of the pen as an art medium and how it has evolved and grown in popularity.


Sugarlift Gallery is located at 200 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11237. Contact information for the gallery is (718) 366-2857 // //

An Opening Night reception will occur from 6 until 9 o’clock on Friday, January 15th, 2016. Our friends at Braven Brewing will be pouring beers throughout the evening.

Sugarlift is New York’s online art gallery. We work with today’s best young artists to present high-quality artwork at affordable prices for art lovers and designers around the world. We offer original artwork direct from an artist’s studio and limited edition prints made right here in Brooklyn.

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