Berlin-based British portraitist Ben Hammond is a freelance illustrator whose portfolio includes expert works for various clients, but we have totally fallen for his Real Fake Nudes. Essentially creating pseudo-portraits, Hammond can be commissioned by anybody willing to send him a picture of their face (and £25) and the result is an original, custom, imagined illustration.
Hammond came up with the comical and clever concept when he hadn’t managed to buy a friend’s birthday gift. “It was the eve of the birthday and I still hadn’t finalized a present. I had been putting it off because I was rather skint and now I had an hour or so before the birthday event. The friend in question has quite a filthy humor and the idea just struck me out of the blue: I would draw the old dear nude! (Or at least my interpretation!) Once I had the image drawn, I hunted down a suitable frame and then the gift was ready. I wasn’t nervous about giving the present to her—though it would be in front of a few people who might not get the idea. When she opened the gift and revealed her illustrated nude bits, the laughter was all I needed to gage it had gone down a real treat. Since then I have drawn many friends and strangers in the buff and, on the whole, it seems to go down very well.”
His style for the portraits is perfect for the concept: a little crass, messy and awkward—but in the best possible way. “I have always enjoyed drawing in a quick immediate style with a thick line, embracing mistakes, wobbly lines, etc. I rarely draw in pencil first, but rather dive in with the ink and wait to see what evolves. I have a couple of approaches: when I’m feeling aligned with the universe, I can look at the face and draw the rest of the body very quickly without any planning or idea of the pose or posture. Other times, I have to plan. I will scour the net for the right pose which often involves trenching through a lot of dodgy porn. This can sometime take longer than the drawing itself depending on the pose I’m after.”
And, in case you’re nervous about commissioning a Real Fake Nude, there’s no need as yours certainly won’t be the weirdest request Hammond has received: “I was asked to draw a man with a feather duster up his arsehole.”
An artist who never rests, Hammond has plenty more up his sleeve. One particularly exciting project on the horizon is Future Portraits, for which “you can choose the year in which your portrait will be drawn—for example, 2076.” That will be online, along with Hammond’s other “nonsense” soon.
Commission your very own Real Fake Nude (£25 for singles, £35 for couples or £45 for threesomes) online.
Images courtesy of Ben Hammond