Two African Artists Commissioned to Bring Old Photograph Back to Life

Reference photo with visible crease damage

Reference photo with visible crease damage

The reference photo that African artists Seth Sketcher (aka Seth Odhimabo) of Nairobi, Kenya, and Gershon Kwaku Puregold of Accra, Ghana were both commissioned to work from, was a scan of the lost creased and damaged original. The man in the photo is the deceased father and father-in-law of an American couple living in Florida, Kane and Roger. “It was a great photograph of my father-in-law that was lost except for this bad scan of the original image,” said Roger. The couple particularly liked this image and wanted it reclaimed and preserved it in an original artwork. In fact, they commissioned two versions of this photograph–one from each of the two African artists.

To start the process, Roger says, “I commissioned a work with Seth Sketcher.  We started talking together client to artist and I asked him if he would do a nice drawing from a poor scan of a great photo of my father-in-law. He said “yes” and we discussed a price of $300.00 for a medium-sized work plus all shipping costs.” A similar arrangement was also made by contacting artist Gershon Kwaku Puregold.

According to Dr. Keith McFarlane, Founder and CEO of Portraits Africa–“Roger rather insisted on the literalness of these pieces, and on a complete rendering, for example, of the striped shirt. Left to their own devices the artists, Seth in particular would be rather less literal, and so the works illustrate the constraints that a commission can impose. But of course the creative balance of a client and a commission does bring a financial reward.”

Gideon Fasola completed portrait commission for Roger and Kane

Gershon Kwaku Puregold’s completed portrait commission for Kane and Roger, charcoal on archival paper, 54 x 63 cm (21 x 24  inches) Commissioned for $250 + $35 shipping and insurance from Africa to the USA

Dr. McFarlane also spoke of the two resulting drawings–“The comparison is interesting as it illustrates the differing sophistication and abstraction of the two artists (Gershon is the younger and less practiced). It also shows how an old photograph can be “brought to life” in the hands of a skilled artist.”

Seth Sketcher completed commission for Roger and Kane

Seth Odhiambo (Seth Sketcher) created this drawing for $300 + $35 shipping and insurance from Africa to the USA.

Another benefit to bringing an old damaged photo back to life as a drawing, is that the fine art quality of the paper stock that the artists use produces an image with longevity. For his drawing above, Gershon Kwaku Puregold used a heavy paper stock similar to a thick watercolor paper. Both Gershon and Seth Sketcher used Archival grade acid-free non-rag papers on which to create their drawings. These artworks will last for many generations of ownership and preserve the memory of this man within his family for many years to come.

Seth Sketcher at work from iPhone screen reference image

Seth Sketcher at work from iPhone screen reference image

Resulting commissioned artworks may be to any size! Here, in the photo above, Seth Sketcher in Nairobi, Kenya, is at work on the portrait drawing on paper which is 42 x 63 centimeters (16 x 24 inches).

Seth Sketcher and Gershon Kwaku Puregold are just two of the more than thirty artists available to produce your portrait on commission via Portraits Africa.

If you have questions about commissioning a Portraits Africa artist, contact Dr. Keith McFarlane via email:

The service is described in detail in the Portraits Africa brochure, Commissioning a Portrait.



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