Arinze Stanley Egbengwu (b. 1993) is a Nigerian artist based in Lagos ,who is known for his hyper realistic pencil and charcoal portraits of black subjects that embody the complex emotions associated with the contemporary black experience.
Stanley began drawing at the age of six, using graphite pencils and materials from his family’s paper business. The self-taught artist developed his photorealistic style by employing what he calls the three Ps: patience, practice, and persistence. Stanley works from live models, reference images, and his own imagination to create these methodical works: He often spends up to two to four months completing a single portrait. His subjects’ emotions—which range from subtle to exaggerated—clearly register in these works, even when their faces are depicted dripping with thick liquid, obscured by woven paper masks, or pierced by bullet holes.
Inspired by his personal experiences living in Nigeria, Stanley’s practice speaks to the realities of police brutality and systemic racism and conveys his commitment to social justice and political activism
"My art is born out of the zeal for perfection both in skill, expression and devotion to create positive changes in the world.
I draw inspiration from life experiences and basically everything that sparks a feeling of necessity. I find myself spending countless hours working on an artwork to stimulate deep and strong emotions in order to connect more intimately with my viewers.
Most times it’s almost like I lose control of my pencils and the art flows through me to the paper.
I work with my principle of the three p's namely patience, practice and persistence. These have guided me over the years towards perfecting my craft."