Featured Artist Josh Connell

Artist Josh Connell shares his portfolio of amazingly realistic charcoal and graphite portraits that explore the human condition. See more of his work by visiting his website.


charcoal and graphite self-portrait by Josh Connell

“Watching” graphite and charcoal, 53cm x 64cm


I am a self-taught artist living and working in Quinte, Ontario. I use charcoal and graphite to draw photorealistic images of people.


charcoal portrait of a little girl with a party horn by Josh Connell

“Her Birthday…May 17, 2020” charcoal, 40cm x 48cm


I am fascinated by human beings. I hope my work will reflect this. Like all of us, I change with time and so the theme of my work changes too. I strongly believe, however, that the art I create will always be deeply influenced by my curiosity for our species.


charcoal and graphite drawing of a woman with a face mask by Josh Connell

“Masked” charcoal and graphite, 39cm x 19cm


It is my opinion that we have never before been a more complex or interesting animal. This present moment has been conjured up by all of history, and we as a species are a product of everything and everyone that has come before us. This is also perhaps the most confusing time for the human race. There is an overwhelming amount of disorienting chatter in the world today and it seems to be inescapable.


charcoal and graphite self-portrait of the artist pacing in a hall by Josh Connell

“Pacing” charcoal and graphite, 47cm x 72cm


I have recently completed a series of five self-portraits exploring and hoping to come to terms with some of the negative aspects of my human experience. These aspects I believe to be both supported by and the result of the dizzying confusion that surrounds me. At the time of completion, I felt I was unsuccessful in illuminating anything useful to assist me with my mental health.


graphite and charcoal self-portrait of the artist staring at a computer screen by Josh Connell

“Buffering” graphite and charcoal, 69cm x 51cm


Since then, I have completed four other pieces that in one way or another explore human themes or conditions. I think now, after further observation of the world and continued introspection, that I was approaching healing from the wrong direction. Focusing on the ills of humanity and of my mind was not alleviating them.


charcoal and graphite self-portrait by Josh Connell

“Selfie” graphite and charcoal, 42cm x 57cm


There is so much separation in the world right now. There appears to be so many sides to take that we often find ourselves living across from one another instead of beside each other.


graphite and crayon self-portrait by Josh Connell

“Separation” graphite and black pencil crayon, 40cm x 41cm


I think the solution to reducing our confusion and our perceived separation is likely to be love. That may seem too simple a cure, but perhaps the answer to the complexity of human civilization is not more complexity. Perhaps civilization just needs an insurgence of love.


charcoal and graphite portrait of a little boy by Josh Connell

“Just A Little Boy” charcoal and graphite, 34cm x 40cm


My plan for the future is to use my art to create portraits of love, which is to say portraits of humans. Any human. My intention is to draw portraits of people and title them “Love.”


charcoal portrait of a woman by Josh Connell

“Hope” charcoal, 70cm x 48cm


No explanations, no artist insight, just an image of a human being and the single word title. Then silence. Allow you the viewer to make your own authentic connection to the work.


charcoal and graphite portrait of a woman in progress by Josh Connell

Work in progress


Perhaps in the silence we can find a little more love.


Artist Josh Connell invites you to follow him on Facebook and Instagram.


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  1. Ruth Terry says

    Love your work, Josh. Your soul shines through.

  2. Tanya Brown says

    Amazing artist.
    Beautifully emotional work.

  3. Your art is fascinating, Josh. I enjoyed reading some of your story here.

  4. Jennifer Benson says


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