Kelvin Okafor

Kelvin Okafor’s hyper-realist drawings are regularly confused with photographs.
Kelvin is the first commissioned artist to have a pencil portrait on permanent display in the House of Commons.
The term ‘Emotional Realism’ was coined in response to Kelvin’s expressive works.

Hyper-realist artist Kelvin Okafor (born 1985) specialises in pencil portraits. Kelvin has often and aptly used the term ‘aliveness’ to express the technical and sentimental value of his realistic drawings; the sensitive strokes and subtle accuracy of his style flawlessly mimic the contours of a photograph to the extent that his drawings are regularly confused with real photography. That said, the aim of Kelvin’s work is not to emulate photographs but rather to expose the pure humanity and life of his subjects.

Kelvin Okafor’s Education and Early Career

Kelvin studied a Foundation course in Art & Design at City & Guilds Art School. He then became a graduate of Middlesex University with a B.A. (Hon)s in Fine Art. Kelvin patiently mastered the ability to create incredibly refined tones and textures on paper, giving the illusion of colour with single shades of lead. His first solo show took place at the Albemarle Gallery in London and was a huge success, resulting in over fifty commissions. He has since taken home numerous national awards and endless critical acclaim for his art.

Famous Works

Among Kelvin’s most notable works are portraits of John Lennon, Kate Moss and Skepta. His graphite and charcoal pencil drawing of John Lennon (2019) took more than 215 hours to accomplish and his portrait of Kate Moss set records at Bonhams, selling for over fours times the estimated price.

News and Exhibitions

Kelvin’s work has been exhibited at top galleries across the country. He was featured in the BBC’s Extraordinary Portraits series, where he produced a portrait of Catrin Pugh. If you’d like to learn more about the artist’s photorealistic portraits, read our article on Kelvin’s Emotional Realism.

Selected Works

Jasmin's Interlude by Kelvin Okafor

Jasmin's Interlude

Drawings - 74x55 cm
John Lennon by Kelvin Okafor

John Lennon

Prints - 94x74 cm
Stephen Sutton by Kelvin Okafor

Stephen Sutton

Prints - 49x63 cm
Mia's Interlude by Kelvin Okafor

Mia's Interlude

Drawings - 63x56 cm
Lucid by Kelvin Okafor


Drawings - 65x52 cm
Sensitivity by Kelvin Okafor


Drawings - 42x59 cm
Timeless by Kelvin Okafor


Drawings - 42x59 cm
Bernie Grant by Kelvin Okafor

Bernie Grant

Drawings - 72x54 cm
Mother Teresa by Kelvin Okafor

Mother Teresa

Prints - 65x46 cm
Mana by Kelvin Okafor


Prints - 49x63 cm


Prints - 49x63 cm

Heath Ledger

Prints - 63x49 cm

Adam II

Drawings - 38x61 cm


Drawings - 36x56 cm

King Hussein

Drawings - 56x46 cm

Mia II

Drawings - 46x33 cm


Drawings - 29x40 cm

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