When John Loud invented the ballpoint pen prototype, it was primarily used to mark leather surfaces. Laszlo Biro later built on Loud's invention. He and his brother Gyorgy developed the ball-socket and ink, creating a pen perfect for letter-writing. Despite such ingenuity, it was not until WW II that the world would benefit from Biro's invention. Fleeing to Argentina, Biro sought refuge at Buenos Aires, where mass production of the pen began.
It so happened that Futurist Artist Lucio Fontana moved to Argentina during the 1940's. He had a fascination for all things radical and innovative. His enthusiasm over Biro's creation spawned a new creative outlet-making Fontana the proponent of ballpoint pen artistry. Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacometti, and Il Lee are among the renowned artists who have adopted the medium.
The Ballpoint Pen as a Medium
As an art medium, the ballpoint pen is a simple yet challenging tool. Issues regarding preservation, permanence, and structure make it an unlikely ideal medium.
Preservation. Most pens contain a high amount of acid, which causes fading. Although ink composition has been developed to address archiving concerns, scanning and photographing remain to be the best solutions.
Permanence. This type of art has no room for error. However taxing in the part of the artist, it is quite an advantage for it is in faults and blunders that imagination and creativity blossoms. Taken constructively, the demands of the ballpoint pen are the building blocks of some of the most celebrated masterpieces.
Structure. Most pens need to be held at a certain angle consistently to keep the ink flowing. Ultimately, the challenge is when the flow is completely interrupted. Rest assured, one can proceed as long as another pen is within reach.
Bulk and weight are other problems to be encountered. While brand is irrelevant for other artists, some may have certain preferences. In Trent Morse's article Making Cutting-Edge Art with Ballpoint Pens , Marlene McCarty reveals her penchant for the blue Montblanc, a nuisance due to its weight. As a workaround, McCarty narrates:
… they are too heavy to hold upright against the wall for hours at a time, so I take a Montblanc ballpoint refill, force it into a cheap lightweight plastic Bic pen handle, tape the whole thing together, and use that.
If one would ponder on whether or not there is a pen in existence designed to meet the excruciating requirements of every artists, the answer would be a no. Can one safely assume that expensive designer pens are best suited for the task? Surprisingly, prominent ballpoint pen artists are quite happy to doodle and scribble with a Bic, Pilot, or Staedtler.
In spite of its complexities, Ballpoint Pen Art continues to grow. The pen lends its proliferation as an art medium to its practicality, affordability, and portability. Everyone uses a ballpoint pen. Children, students, and professionals have all carried or used a pen at some point of their life. Next to the pencil, it is the most common writing tool.
Since its creation, there now exists a wide selection of pens-differing in ballpoint sizes, ink colors, and usage. Ranging from two to five inches in height, the pen is remarkably versatile and convenient compared with other art media.
Source by Jonalyn Crisologo