When beginning a drawing, most creatives will naturally seek out a new sheet of paper. UK-based artist Mark Powell, however, finds materials that have lived once or twice before. His series Ephemera features exquisite pen and ink drawings that are rendered on top of vintage postcards, playing cards, and more to fuse the past with the present.
Powell carefully renders each of his subjects, which range from human figures to animals, using a ballpoint pen. These drawings often encompass multiple pieces of ephemera that have been arranged together to create one larger surface. “The Ephemera series started when I found an envelope that was sent from the front line in World War I and it has been ongoing since,” Powell tells My Modern Met. “I find that the unconventional paper tells its own story with the signs of the passage of time upon it much like the faces I draw too. They both suggest a story that isn't told.”
While the eye naturally gravitates toward the striking illustration, it is interesting to see the ways in which these drawings interact with their material. A pair of elephants, for example, intertwine trunks across a series of envelopes, while a large bird flies across a diagram of the solar system. From Powell's meticulous linework to the personal touches left on a deck of cards, there are innumerable details to discover in each piece.
You can purchase original art and prints via Powell's online shop, and keep up to date with his latest projects by following his Instagram.