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Anatomy of An Artwork, Jono Dry


Jono Dry, Gummy Bear and Eye (process), 2022, Graphite on Paper, 114 x 164 cm, ENQUIRE ABOUT ORIGINAL ARTWORK

Based in Cape Town and entirely self taught, South African artist Jono Dry has worked for the last thirteen years on creating a practice centred around his large-scale hyperrealist graphite works. The luxury of time runs strongly through Jono’s practice as an artist ~ with a single drawing taking about 2 months to complete, with up to 200 hours of drawing that affirms a sense of cadence and a power to move.

“Graphite is a part of me, it's probably a part of you too. Elemental, as one of the oldest forms of inscription - graphite has lent itself to the hand-made mark of scientists, artists, cartographers, builders, draughtsmen and explorers.The truth is, we have been working with this medium our whole lives.”

Spending his career pushing the medium as an artist, Dry is constantly experimenting, exploring the different ways the medium of graphite can be used. Hyperrealism’s demand for focus means that Dry has worked to experience a meditative space through his drawing practice. The monochrome medium provides a blank page on which to pour out fantasies and juxtapositions.

Jono Dry, Ruin, 2020, Graphite on Paper, 114 x 80 cm, R 11,470 ex. vat, ORDER PRINT HERE

“A foundation for any artwork and most thoughts - graphite marks a wall on a construction site whilst also being a vehicle to delicately pour out imagination onto a piece of paper. Drafting ideas and mapping thoughts that you then might erase, there is the safety to change your mind.”

In years of conversation with graphite, pushing it further and becoming more nuanced with its depth and textures - the medium begins to push back through its surface. Fighting back, graphite offers up a remarkable resilience and humble strength to the maker.

Jono Dry, Figure in Frame (process), 2021, Graphite on Paper, 164 x 114 cm 

A portfolio showing years of dedication to depicting anatomy, Dry’s work celebrates the human form whilst manipulating small moments with a sensitive surrealism born of soft, powdered graphite and an empathetic view. Statuesque figures turn in contrapusto to look back at 16th century Greek sculptures as Dry gently chips away at marble surfaces and broken skin to reveal the fragile nature of man beneath. The works in Dry’s portfolio celebrate the practice of drawing and a life-long relationship with the medium of paper - being a site of ideas, vulnerability and healing.

Although a lack of peers working in the genre has allowed him to take space as one of South Africa’s leading hyperrealists - Dry’s undoubted dedication to his skill and practice as a whole has gained him a large global following and a growing international market for his work.

Jono Dry, Figure in Frame, 2021, Graphite on Paper, 164 x 114 cm 

As an artist, Dry is able to share a passion hidden deep in shades of grey. A humble tool - a trusted conduit for creative thoughts, and a partner in this world with which to leave a mark. It seems that Dry is able to lose time in the making of each drawing, to dream, and access a space of great possibility in the world of black and white.

Jono Dry, August, 2021, Graphite on Paper, 164 x 114 cm

Further Reading In Articles

African Artist Directory

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