Isobel O’Connor is an established illustrator and emerging South Africa contemporary artist. Fascinated by portraiture, O’Connor’s exquisite charcoal drawings reveal a deep sensitivity and engagement with her subject matter. Her work is represented by ODA | objekt.design.art in Franschhoek, and is held in a number of significant national and international collections.
Isobel O’Connor holds a fine art degree from the Johannesburg College of Art. She taught in the art department of the Natal Technicon for several years before embarking on extensive travels and settling abroad.
She focused on private commissions during her time overseas as well as committed to freelance for Harper’s Bazaar. Her fashion illustrations attracted international recognition and awards.
In 2012 she returned to South Africa and dedicates herself full-time to fine art again. She works predominantly in pastels and charcoal.
A lifetime of fashion illustration for international magazines is the base for Isobel O’Connor’s accomplished technique in charcoal. But her work reveals contradiction, from very fluid charcoal shading techniques to detailed, photographic sketching; these are calculated means to capture the subject. Her main focus remains on searching for the soul through the eyes of the subject. The viewer is drawn into an intense experience of being looked at as well as a powerful sensation of looking “into”.
Isobel O’Connor works from Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Exhibitions & Awards
Johannesburg College of Art: “New Signature” art competition in 2 consecutive years.
Harper’s Bazaar fashion illustration competition
2014 “I am a woman of Africa” series, at ODA,
2015 “Polka” group exhibition, Tank Art gallery, Stellenbsoch
2015 “Homer Sapiens” group exhibition, ODA | objekt.design.art, Franschhoek
2016 “Deeper than Skin”, solo exhibtion, ODA | objekt.design.art, Franschhoek
Her work reveals contradiction, from very fluid charcoal shading techniques to detailed, photographic sketching; these are calculated means to capture the subject. Whether she works on bird portraits or presents the “I am a Woman of Africa” series, her main focus remains on searching for the soul through the eyes of the subject. The viewer is drawn into an intense experience of being looked at as well as a powerful sensation of looking “into”.
‘The lines and wrinkles in a face is what fascinates me,
but more so the underlying character to be seen there.
Looking past the surface ,
one finds beauty in strength ,resilience, humour ,fortitude, compassion,dignity.
Hence ” DEEPER THAN SKIN” ‘.