Kelvin Okafor has had a formidable encounter with success as his life-like lead-pencil and charcoal drawings of famous people take the art world by storm.
Examining the young British artist's drawings of King Hussein of Jordan, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Beyoncé, Amy Winehouse, among a plethora of other celebrities triggers profound nostalgia, a walk down memory lane in black and white stills.
In an age where many artists veer from the craftsmanship of traditional art into the world of concept art and film, Okafor courage's to brave a tough domain filled with great artists can only stem from one thing: talent.
Raised in Tottenham, London by his Nigerian parents, who according to him are his number one fans, the 27-year-old Okafor says he fell in love with photo realism at a very young age and directed his first home movie when he was only 15.
He essentially works with pencil and charcoal on white background and prefers photographs to real models as it allows him to concentrate on detail.
"Light changes and values change and not many can hold positions for a long time because I work 80 hours on average on a single piece" he explains.
Before the first stroke of pencil on paper, Okafor spends hours on end, and sometimes days, analysing the features of his chosen subject from all angles. And then he starts "shaping the whole face from the eyes".
Far from the usual black and white stills devoid of emotion, the end result of Okafor's magical strokes is not just precise art, it is more often than not a more intimate reproduction that accentuates traits of the subject's inner persona.
Okafor was selected by Middlesex University, where he graduated with a BA in fine art in 2009, to feature his works at the prestigious Science Museum in London as part of the institution's "Watercolour/Paper Fair".
He has had his drawings displayed in the National Open Art Competition, where he won the Visitors Choice award. His works have also been featured at the Vibe Gallery and Cork Street Gallery in London.
Okafor mostly works on celebrity drawings. "The reason why I chose to work with celebrities is because the audience can relate to them. People are able to identify celebrities, that way they are able to see how accurate I draw and how precisely I draw".
Okafor has also proved his skill at still life.
His exhibition at the Science Museum in February this year got thumbs up when Queen Noor, widow of King Hussein of Jordan, visited. On display was a portrait of the late King by Kelvin Okafor.
"Adam", one of the Okafor's drawings was sold for £8,500 ($13,000/€10,000) at the beginning of February.
His works will be on display at the Mall Galleries between the 6 and 17 March.
Following his success in the UK, the young artist intends on taking his works further afield. "The United States, of course," he reveals "but also Nigeria".