These Artists Use Fabric and Textile to Create Original Portraits

Portrait paintings were an important part of ancient civilizations, where rulers were depicted as gods. But these days, portraits can depict the everyday man. They also don’t have to stick to the traditional oil painting format. As it turns out, portraits can be made using a variety of tools. The following artists took to fabric and textiles, creating portraits that are as original as they are striking.

Sorrell Chrystal Kerrison 

Sorrell Chrystal Kerrison employs traditional embroidery techniques, but puts a spin on them, creating embroidered portraits that are meant to look like Fauvist paintings. As part of her work, she was commissioned to create a portrait of the musician Andrew Hung for the cover of his debut solo album. “My techniques are a bit punk and raw,” she told Textile Artist, talking about her creative process. “I want to improvise as I go and I love it when accidental mistakes happen, rather than planning every aspect of a piece.”

Teresa Lim

Singapore-based illustrator and embroidery artist, Teresa Lim, makes embroidered portraits that are playful if a bit cartoonish. “I like being able to create new things every day,” she told Style Theory. “It’s what keeps me going.” With more than 85k followers on Instagram and collaborations with brands like Gucci and Swarovski – she might as well keep going. Here are some of her commissioned portraits:

Bisa Butler

Artist Bisa Butler creates quilt-like portraits using colorful African fabrics. Her acclaimed work explores questions of identity and tradition. “My portraits tell stories that may have been forgotten over time,” she explained. “When you see vintage lace and aged satin it tells you the story of delicacy and refinement of times gone by. When you see African printed cotton and mud cloth it tells the story of my ancestral homeland and the cradle of civilization.”