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A Decade of Shady Business

James Mylne’s new solo exhibition A Decade of Shady Business showcases his photo-realistic images drawn on paper using just a ballpoint pen

As this striking/terrifying/hilarious (delete as appropriate) portrait of Boris Johnson attests, London-based artist James Mylne’s thought-provoking pieces don’t just command attention – they make a statement too.

Just as fascinating as his photo-realistic images, however, is the technique he employs to produce them, with each portrait drawn on paper using just a ballpoint pen.

Armed with a trusty biro, the artist immortalises some of the world’s most famous faces in his distinct, pioneering style, producing portraits of Kate Moss, Steve McQueen and Notorious BIG, but it’s the clown-faced PM portrait that’s set to be the big talking point of Mylne’s new solo exhibition, A Decade of Shady Business.

Of the controversial drawing, the artist comments: “The whole Brexit thing is a bit of a bad joke… but like The Joker I believe that there is a sadistic side to Boris Johnson beneath all the foolishness.”

Whether the portrait’s divisive subject will have the last laugh or not still remains to be seen, but what’s certain is that this is one artist who’s not going to ignore the ongoing political circus… 

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James Mylne – A Decade of Shady Business, from 12-22 December at 139 Whitfield Street, W1T 5EN