I come across BOOK of FACES, the lockdown art project by the artist Skelf, when I saw a sketch on a friend’s Instagram page. He was easily recognisable and I loved the style, so of course, I wanted to find out more and see about getting my own portrait done.
Having mutual friends, I got chatting with the artist and asked him if he’d do a quick interview for Tea and Cake for the Soul. Read on to find out all about the BOOK of FACES and how you can commission your own affordable portrait. They’d also make a great gift for a friend or family member to treat them during lockdown.
First tell us a bit about you? Are you a full-time artist or is this just a hobby? How did you come up with the idea for Book of Faces?
Skelf: I was a full time touring roadie for the last 20 years. I’ve always been involved in either music or art. I studied fine art in Aberdeen in the ’90s and then the music career took over but the art side of things came back about 5 years ago when I started chainsaw carving.
I stopped touring a few years ago and tried to make a living doing carvings to some success having sold in commercial galleries and private sales and commissions but it wasn’t really working as a full-time thing.
Then the lockdown happened and cost me a load of work overnight. My initial concern was for myself and my partner, then I started worrying about everyone else that I knew and it was just a bit sad.
So I decided to pick some friends’ photos from FB and draw them. I’ve always had a fascination with portraiture and I miss all the friendly faces. It grew legs quite quickly with people offering to pay. Which was nice.
Are all your drawings going into the book?
Skelf: Everything I do for this project will be in the book. Except for all the cock-ups.
When and where will the book become available?
Skelf: The book as a tangible product is definitely on the cards.
I think for this project, it should last until the end of lockdown. At this point I plan on having an exhibition of all the drawings and hopefully all the subjects of each drawing in a room all at once would be cool.
A book will hopefully be available at the exhibition and thereafter.
You charge £20 and work from a photo.
Can anyone commission you for a portrait and how should they contact you? Are there any requirements for the type of photo you need?
Skelf: Yes anyone can be in the book. It started as friends then friends of friends, then strangers who become new friends.
If anyone is interested they should message me from BOOK of FACES page. Try to avoid photos taken with onboard flash, they flatten everything. I’ll look at any picture and happily discuss any potential issues.
If you decide to commission a portrait, or even just go to look at his artwork, please tell him Little Jo sent you.