Adam Batchelor’s images of Third World youth are translated from photograph into pencil in a way that is simultaneously a little clumsy and yet utterly perfect.
You get the sense that he isn’t trying to interpret the National Geographic images in any particularly creative way except for what he adds to them in pop culture images. Batchelor’s mechanical pencil lines seem to be striving for accuracy, precision of detail, and the literalness of translation. But what ends up happening when he attempts this is the images look a little stiff. And when he renders these kids from the developing world into this huge blank white space–grabbing them out of their own context while they are still in motion, and freezing them into a weird scene–it looks something like the kids have been through taxidermy, like they’ve been drained of blood and reproduced as true to life as possible, and then covered with the demi-gods of American childhood.
Taking Banksy’s American Influence as a point of departure, Adam Batchelor does a rad job with his variation on the heavy theme. The 22 year old illustration student recently started showing his work, which utilizes mechanical pencils, colored pencils, and paper, and is inspired by the changing cultures of the world.