Nigerian Artist “Draws” Hyperrealistic Portraits by Burning Wood

Pyrography Art by Alex Peter Idoko

Nigerian artist Alex Peter Idoko creates exquisite drawings without the use of a pencil, pen, or paintbrush. Instead, the 30-year-old artist utilizes pyrography—or wood burning—to bring his subjects to life. With this unconventional technique, he masterfully renders the delicate textures of people's skin and hair with fire until they resemble hyperrealistic portraits.

Originally, from Lagos, Nigeria, Idoko has been passionate about portrait art since he was a student. While his practice began in graphite, charcoal, and pastel, he eventually gravitated towards pyrography art for its powerful visual effects. This process requires him to torch the surface of wood until he achieves the desired darkness, occasionally relying on a razor to scrape away excess. His portfolio of work ranges from conventional portraiture to surrealist depictions emphasizing Black stories.

“[Idoko's] works reference African realities, he primarily concerns himself with writing, rebranding, and editing the Black story by bringing to the limelight Blacks of every continent while accessing issues and challenges that surround them and also setting positive images that would serve as a bearing to the new generation [of] African/Blacks born and unborn,” it says on the artist's website. “These artworks are created to lend voice to all who lack the power to speak in the public domain about sensitive issues that affect humanity, which he then skillfully executes as realism.”

You can purchase prints of Idoko's artwork via his website, and keep up to date with the artist's latest projects by following him on Instagram.

Nigerian artist Alex Peter Idoko “draws”  hyperrealistic portraits by burning wood in a process called pyrography art.

Pyrography Art by Alex Peter IdokoPyrography Art by Alex Peter Idoko

This involves torching and scraping a piece of wood (the canvas) until he achieves realistic textures.

Pyrography Art by Alex Peter IdokoPyrography Art by Alex Peter Idoko

Each incredible artwork is a powerful, thought-provoking piece.

Pyrography Art by Alex Peter IdokoPyrography Art by Alex Peter Idoko

Viewers are encouraged to to take a deep look at Idoko’s work, though it may feel hard at times.

Pyrography Art by Alex Peter IdokoPyrography Art by Alex Peter IdokoPyrography Art by Alex Peter IdokoPyrography Art by Alex Peter Idoko

Watch this video for more insight into Idoko's process:

Alex Peter Idoko: Website | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Alex Peter Idoko.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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