Creating drawings that could be mistaken for photographs is no easy feat, especially when all Brisbane artist CJ Hendry uses is pen and paper.
If patience is a virtue, then CJ Hendry is a saint. How else do you describe someone who can sit for up to 200 hours, recreating large-scale photographs with only a fineliner? Her drawings — a series of blown-up luxury items that look unnervingly like photographs — are intricate and incredibly precise, a result of what the Brisbane artist says is a combination of a personal perusal of perfection and a love of high end fashion.
“There are two reasons I adore luxury,” she says. “Without a doubt, I am intrigued at the way in which it is made — not a stitch out of place, it is mind-blowing.”
“If I can get to the level of intricacy that the ateliers employ to create these bespoke pieces, then I will be satisfied.”
A testament of unwavering mental endurance, Hendry works only with paper and pen, rendering small centimetres of light and shade at a time. Her competitive nature and desire to grow, develop and push herself to perform is attributable to the perfection and detail present in all her pieces. The epitome of polished precision, hers is a craft like no other.
And while creativity is a given for any artist, Hendry is almost methodical; more exacting than fleeting, the level of precision in her work is practical, not abstract. “I believe my style is leaning more toward mathematical draftsmanship rather than whimsical creativity,” she says.
“There is a small element of creativity in the initial stages of deciding on the object and placement, however the drawing part is extremely methodical.”
The detail present in her subjects — be it a silk scarf, Gucci loafers, a skull or a saddle — is often much more striking on paper than in person. For all the complicated detailing and hours of tedious work, there is a refined simplicity that, Hendry says, makes the process more of a meditation than a struggle.
“Before taking on drawing as a full time pursuit, I was a very aggressive and unsettled individual,” she says. “It was probably due to the fact that I was attempting to pursue something that was totally against my wavelength.”
CJ Hendry wears: Tia Cotton V Tee in white/Mid Rise Ankle Grazer in white
“The past year has been more fulfilling that I ever thought possible and I believe it is down to the relaxation I find from doing what I’m meant to be doing.”