January 21st First Exhibition of Portraits Africa Artists Opens in Nairobi, Kenya


Portraits Africa announces their first exhibition of artworks from their community of artists to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, Thursday, 21st January to Friday, 5th February 2016.

Participating artists include Anita Kavochi, Anne Mwairi, Christopher Kiongah, David Thuku, Elias Mung’ora, Elijah Mutua, Jack Birgen, Jay Kimathi, Nadia Wamunya, Nduata Kariuki, Nicholas Odhiambo, Peteros Ndunde, Seth Odhiambo, Sylvenus Semoh, Victor Binge, and, Waweru Gichuhi.

We’ll be sharing more on each of the artists in the weeks ahead. Find out more on the Portraits Africa’s blog here.

How to Commission Your Portrait by African Artist Gideon Fasola

Gideon Fasola's pencil portrait of young couple

Gideon Fasola’s pencil portrait of young couple

Select your reference photos or create a new selfie, then chat with artist Gideon Fasola to discuss your portrait art ideas ( email gideonfasola1@gmail.com. Telephone: +234 816 762 1698). Do you want a painting on canvas, a graphite and charcoal drawing, or ink drawing on paper? The artist will help you decide on the materials and size for the finished portrait during your consultation. Full terms and the artist’s portfolio here.

Innocent African Beauty by Gideon Fasola

Innocent African Beauty by Gideon Fasola

Once you’ve made your decision, you only need to send your reference photo or photos to the artist so he can get to work. As your portrait art progresses Gideon Fasola will send you a work-in-progress photo!

Payments are made to Portraits Africa–based in Amsterdam, Netherlands–(Contact via email: editor@negativeentropy.net -or- by telephone: +31 20 672 78 06 ). Portraits Africa holds your international currency payment until the portrait is complete and delivered to you. Then the money is paid to artist.

Gideon Fasola portrait drawing

Gideon Fasola portrait drawing

Your pencil portrait drawing on paper may require a few weeks to complete, and a painting on canvas will take more time. If you have an anniversary, birthday, or other date you’d like to receive the completed work, just let the artist know.

My Princess, red, blue, black ballpoint pen drawing by Gideon Fasola

My Princess, red, blue, black ballpoint pen drawing by Gideon Fasola

Final photos of your finished portrait are sent to you for approval. The artist Gideon Fasola packages and ships your portrait art to you.

A moment with Gideon Fasola–


Happiness Costs No Money, painting by Gideon Fasola

Happiness Costs No Money, painting by Gideon Fasola


Nigerian Artist Gideon Fasola’s *Tiny Breaks* in the Duality of His Self-Portrait

Face of Me, Gideon Fasola

Face of Me, Gideon Fasola

Last night I chatted with artist Gideon Fasola of Nigeria, who is one of the African artists represented by Amsterdam-based Dr. Keith McFarlane’s international Portraits Africa project.

Portraits Africa is all about the African artists they represent and the portrait art their artists create. All of the portrait art in the Portraits Africa artist portfolios help to brand the project and service. But none more so than African artist Gideon Fasola’s iconic self-portrait Face of Me, of which the artist says–“It’s the artwork that represents everything about my art.”

Gideon was one of the earliest to be curated into the Portraits Africa aka African Portraiture Service. The artist says that he appreciates every effort the service makes to promote his work and obtain commissions for him from clients around the world–“African Portraiture Service is a loving platform for African Artists, to me it’s like making a dream that seems impossible come true so unexpectedly soon to the dreamer.”

His Face of Me self-portrait is also used to help brand the @PortraitsAfrica Twitter account here.

You’ll notice that in this self-portrait (image above) there is a rough division down the center of the face, with the left side painted in color and the right side rendered in graphite pencil. Both sides demonstrate Gideon Fasola’s skill and ability in rendering realism in any media. He says, “I like to be free with my color and rendering, I don’t like following a strict way of painting. The graphite side is simply showing my pencil realism in like manner to the painting.”

Such duality of imagery carries much metaphorical meaning as well, referencing dualities in the life of every artist, while providing a visual summary of the Portraits Africa service of turning flesh and blood faces into drawings and paintings.

Yet Gideon Fasola’s work is not limited to realistic renderings–“I love good music, inspiring poetry and drawings that speaks, so rhythm, words and message always influence my artworks,” he says. “That is why my works are not limited to realism and hyperrealism portraiture and drawings that is common among African artists of this generation.”

The abstract aspects of Gideon Fasola’s self-portrait is in the texture and patterning, which he refers to as Araism. “The background represents two things about my art, the tiny break texture is Araism–a painting movement invented by a Nigerian artist Mufu Onifade. I became a disciple of the movement in 2013 and I am the first artist in the group that is using pencil to render the movement. The second thing on the background is my background pattern that I have been using for the background of my works since when I was in school 2008 till now.”

Gideon speaks the three major languages of Nigeria–Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa, and many dialects under them. He explains that, “Araism is derived from Yoruba (the language of the western Nigeria tribe).” From the word “Ara” which means “wonder.” As in, there is wonder and amazement in the viewer at the lines of “tiny breaks” that come together to create an art piece. Also, the word “Ara” means “thunder,” with the lines that strike across the surface of the artworks like lightning in a thunderstorm. “Ara” (in the Igbo language) can also mean a woman’s breast. Gideon explains that connotation as, “the way the artworks entice people and gives their delightful view and pleasurable experience is compared with womans breasts. So Araism is all African rooted, especially Yoruba.”

HOPE, Gideon Fasola

HOPE Gideon Fasola

His two imaginative works titled HOPE and Virtuous Woman very clearly articulate this “tiny break texture” of Araism–or as Gideon says– “Yes, this are some of my pure Araism works.”

Gideon Fasola

Virtuous Woman Gideon Fasola

Fasola explains that he first heard about the Araism movement while studying at The Polytechnic Ibadan, Eruwa Campus, Oyo State, Nigeria. “I first heard about Mufu Onifade at school, from one of my lecturers that is one year senior colleague of Mufu Onifade when they are art students. Mufu Onifade is a former student of my school, my campus, he graduated there 1988. I started searching for his name and possible contacts online after I heard about him and saw some of his works. After many trials, I was able to chat with him and talk to him on call. I saw him face to face for the first time when he invited me to the Araism Movement on the 10th of September 2013. It was after then that I joined the Araism movement with two Araism works that I submitted to him.”

The Adorable One, gideon Fasola

The Adorable One, Gideon Fasola

Gideon Fasola has created many portrait drawings and paintings. You can view more of Gideon Fasola’s art on his website, on his Facebook page, and on Portraits Africa here.

In the portrait above, the artist demonstrates his skill for working with the ink from blue, black and red ballpoint pens, common tools in Nigeria. He is especially fond of this ballpoint pen ink portrait of “my only niece, which I treasure as my daughter,” he has demonstrably titled The Adorable One.

Fasola also says that being an artist is a “humble career,” demonstrating his humility via encounters with “old wise artists who have made me a young man with an old mind.”  He recalls their advice–“An old artist once told me that art is in your brain and hand, to never let materials silence your expression, but to learn to use whatever can make a mark on a surface to express yourself.”

Gideon Fasola painting

Gideon Fasola painting

Fasola thinks that being an artist is “a gift, a privilege, I am not more worthy than other people to have the talent, so I’m using it like a precious gift given to me as undeserved kindness.”

He describes his painting, above, of laughing children– “It’s saying, if the poor can be happy then you can be happy against all odds if you choose to and if you have the right attitude the way you live your life.”




Artists Support Artists: South African Painters Lioda Conrad and Benon Lutaaya

Lioda Conrad and

Lioda Conrad and Benon Lutaaya  Photo: Lioda Conrad

“Guess who bought one of my works in The African Crysalists series. The very gracious man himself Benon Lutaaya! Thank you and it was a pleasure to have created this work Benon reigns in Africa. He embodies all that is true ideology within art. Benon, a Great day spent with you exchanging passion of art, thoughts and laughter,” Lioda Conrad shared these thoughts and feelings recently on her Facebook page and tweeted them from her Twitter account.

Lioda is pleased and touched by Benon’s wonderful support of her as a fellow artist. Lioda said of the transaction and sale of her portrait painting (image below) to artist and subject Benon Lutaaya–“He said he wanted to buy it because it was stunning, but also because I had something more to convey thru my art and convey an important message about Africa and the beauty of its people.”

Lioda Conrad portrait of

Lioda Conrad’s mixed media portrait painting of Benon Lutaaya, titled Benon reigns in Africa

I’d gotten to know about Lioda Conrad’s portrait series via Dr. Keith McFarlane’s Portraits Africa here and when I featured her paintings in my Xposy magazine article Lioda Conrad’s Portraits of Contemporary African Artists.

Xposy magazine article

Xposy magazine article with photo of Cyrus Kabiru, another of Lioda Conrad’s fellow artists and subject of her portrait paintings. View more of Cyrus Kabiru’s wearable art creations on his Pinterest page here.

African Fine-Art Prints Exclusively From EN1

APSENiprintlaunchPortraits Africa and EN1 PRINTS offer exclusive access to limited-edition fine-art prints from some of Africa’s best young and emerging artists.

EN1printcatalogpagesampleAfrica was chosen for the opportunity it offers to lower the cost of ownership of original art, and to help significantly with the financial position of these individual artists. This dual benefit is only possible because a Dollar or Euro is worth far more, in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa, than anywhere in Europe, Canada or the United States.


AfricaEN1 promophoto
Keith McFarlane, Founder, Artworld, Portraits Africa,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ceri Thomas, Founder, EN1 PRINTS,
London, United Kingdom
James Matty, Founder, EN1 PRINTS,
London, United Kingdom


Artists Featured in Magazines and Art News Feed


In the studio of contemporary African artist Benon Lutaaya, one of the subjeects of Lioda Conrad's portrait series

In the studio of contemporary African artist Benon Lutaaya, the contemporary African artist is one of the subjects of Lioda Conrad’s portrait series

Artist Marketing Resources does a lot of article marketing. This past week, we’ve written and published articles for artists Metrov, Clare Haxby, and Lioda Conrad, among others.

We featured Lioda Conrad’s series of portraits of contemporary African artists in an article on Xposy magazine–read it here.

We also published news of California artist Metrov newest portrait series, on the international Art News site–see it here. Look for more forthcoming on Metrov’s Renaissance POP limited edition print series.

One of Metrov's Renaissance Pop portraits of the Mona Lisa

One of Metrov’s Renaissance Pop portraits of the Mona Lisa

Artist and designer Clare Haxby’s Singapore waterfront paintings are more relevant than ever, as the international city of Singapore celebrates its 50th Birthday, and made it easier for us to promote her art on the Art News Portal here.
Clare Haxby's Lotus Flower Building is a painting of Singapore's Art & Science Museum

Clare Haxby’s Lotus Flower Building is a painting of Singapore’s Art & Science Museum

We have many more articles in the works, but if you are an artist and would like to find out more about our article marketing program click here.

African Print Services: A New Sales Opportunity for African Artists

I  invite you to take part in a new joint initiative with the newly launched EN1 Prints of London, England. EN1 Prints are a brand new print-on-demand service offering and very good deals to contemporary artists ready and willing to sell limited edition prints of their original work.

 I have negotiated a special deal with EN1 for Artworld’s African Fine Artists that will market fine-art prints (A1, A2 or A3 sized) from your original work. (Initially the agreement is for African artists, perhaps later this will be extended worldwide). The bare bones of the arrangement are as follows.
 (i) There are no fees or charges up-front. You pay nothing, now or ever for the print-service.
 (ii) If a print is sold, the printer get 20% of the selling-price, APS gets 5% (ploughed back into the Artworld service) and you, the artist, get 75%. Payment will be made within 7 days from the sale, less any bank & currency conversion charges.
 (iii) You are free to set your own prices for prints offered from your original work. I recommend an edition of 100, and (in consultation with EN1 Prints) a selling price of USD 75. For each print sold you will receive about USD 56 (75%) less bank costs, EN1 Prints gets about USD 15 (to cover the service, materials and printing) and APS gets USD 4 (or 5%).
 I URGE YOU TO TAKE PART UNDER THE RECOMMENDED TERMS! To do so just reply to this email with the single word YES. I will then contact you with further information (I will need a print quality digital master for each print sold through EN1 Prints. If you want to set special prices or a different edition size then email me with your proposal. I strongly recommend that to reduce costs to a minimum you accept the standard deal! 
 If you want to look at the offer in detail you can read the detailed prospectus, African Print Services: A New Sales Opportunity for African Artists . This also describes what you need to know about the digital images required by the printers. The bigger the digital image, the better: but they can manage with relatively low resolutions, the minimum being some 1600 x 1200 pixels.
 I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU! If you have any questions, just reply to this email, or drop me a line at editor@negativeentropy.net .
 Best Wishes,
FROM: Keith McFarlane
Editor, Artworld
Nicolaas Witsenkade 47-B
1017 ZV Amsterdam
The Netherlands / NL

Portrait Artist Offering Commissions Featured in TV Interview


Theopencil at work

TheoPencil at work



Artist Theophilus Boateng Kwaku Sarpong, who goes by the shorter name Theo Pencil and  often written as one word TheoPencil, creates large scale pencil portraits of African’s public figures in photo-realistic detail that he refers to as hyper-realism.


"Kofi Annan" by Theopencil ( Theophilus Boateng Kwaku Sarpong ) of Accra, Ghana. Pencil on paper, without frame. 51cm x 76cm. USD 1,000.

“Kofi Annan” by TheoPencil ( Theophilus Boateng Kwaku Sarpong ) of Accra, Ghana. Pencil on paper, without frame. 51cm x 76cm. USD 1,000.


TheoPencil is one of several African artists offering portrait commissions to people throughout the world. Now anyone in any country may commission their portrait with the assistance of a special service you can read about here.

Here is a look into a commission for a client in the United States–TheoPencil working with pencil and charcoal on paper–work in progress.


TheoPencil working on a portrait commission for an American client

TheoPencil working on a portrait commission for an American client


For the this family portrait, below, THE FAMILY OF AKI-OLA, TheoPencil completed the 30 x 40 inch pencil drawing in 88 hours over 11 days.




TheoPencil at work on another amazing portrait in progress

TheoPencil at work on another amazing portrait in progress


Watch African Portrait artist Theo Pencil on the KSM TV show —

Startling New Faces From the African Portrait Project Artists

"The Initiation", 100 cm x 70 cm. 2014, Acrylic on Paper, Lynette Swanepoel, Thabo Mofutsanyane, South Africa.

The Initiation, Lynette Swanepoel, Thabo Mofutsanyane, South Africa, 100 cm x 70 cm, 2014, acrylic paints on paper

In February, we announced the launch of African Portrait Project and you can read that article here. We also published an article on unconventional portraits and included work by African artists. Read the article, The Unconventional Portrait: Moving Away From the Literal Likeness here.

The African Portrait Project has grown to include even more accomplished artists from several African countries. Many have fewer resources than most of us are accustomed to, such as cell phones only to photograph their art and to connect with the rest of the world via social media. Therefore these African artists have elected to join together in a group on Facebook to share images of their work and offer portrait commissions with the assistance of Dr. Keith McFarlane. View the Facebook page and more art here.

Dr. McFarlane’s African Portrait Project seeks to provide these African artists with an income from patrons in more affluent nations, by offering art lovers outside of Africa opportunities to commission portraits at extremely affordable prices. A win-win for all and when you participate by commissioning an artist, gives you an original fine art portrait of yourself or your family members.

Portrait III, Elias Mung'ora, Naibobi,Kenya

Portrait III, Elias Mung’ora, Naibobi, Kenya


These commissioned portraits are real fine art, one-of-kind, and may be hyper-realistic pencil drawings on paper, an oil painting, or expressive painting in other fine art materials.

Portrait artists in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and other African countries will be happy to consult with you one-on-one to determine the best options for your portrait.

You can also read more details on commissioning a portrait here.


"The wrinkled woman" by Theopencil ( Theophilus Boateng Kwaku Sarpong ) of Accra, Ghana,  Pencil on paper, without frame. 41cm x 51cm

The wrinkled woman, Theopencil ( Theophilus Boateng Kwaku Sarpong ) of Accra, Ghana, Pencil on paper, 41cm x 51cm


If you have questions, or wish to find out how you can commission your first portrait, contact Dr. Keith McFarlane via email: editor@negativeentropy.com  Please remember that Dr. McFarlane is based in Amsterdam, and asks you to keep in mind that Amsterdam time is about hours ahead of your time zone in the USA. Here is Dr. McFarlane’s phone number: +31 20 89 32 791

Commissioning a foreign artist for a portrait, and the artist accepting foreign commissions involves a high level of trust on both sides. Recognizing this, Dr. Keith McFarlane, scientist and owner of the Amsterdam based company Negative Entropy and the owner and creator of the ArtWorld app available on iTunes, created this commission service. He will safeguard the payment while assuring quality and delivery of the commissioned artwork, and will only take a 5% commission to cover international transaction fees, currency exchange rates, bank transfer fees and like expenses.


"Africana III" by Elias Mung'ora of Nairobi, Kenya, Charcoal and watercolours on ivory paper, 60cm x 84cm

Africana III,  Elias Mung’ora of Nairobi, Kenya, Charcoal and watercolours on ivory paper, 60cm x 84cm