Everything about my artwork begins with the expression. It is the moment when I feel a complete sense of tranquility and relief that I know I found piece I will be drawing. I find that in all of my artwork, the theme always revolves around emotional expression photorealism. My expertise lies in photorealistic portraits of people and animals. Portraits allow me to completely capture and exaggerate the emotion that is evoked from my mind or reference I am drawing from. I love to draw the emotion of expression and vice versa.
The medium I use to create photo realistic portraits is charcoal. This medium allows me to play with the contrast of light in a photo and allows for manipulation of techniques to achieve certain desired effects I look for when I draw a portrait as in the works of the renaissance painter Michelangelo Merisi de Carravagio. Caravaggio uses a technique known as “Chiaroscuro” and that is the way in which dark and light contrast and work with each other to create a certain drama or theme. All of my work includes chiaroscuro and it is the basis of all of my portraits and artwork. The tools and materials used to create or reproduce photorealistic portraits are charcoal pencils, blending stumps, kneaded erasers, mechanical pencils, and certain types of paper and canvas depending on the subjects and what effects I am looking to achieve and to capture the heightened sense of drama, expression, and emotion.
As my artwork approaches its completion, I truly do have a sense of relief to know that the long hours and days I put into every follicle of hair will translate into a piece of work that can open discussions on worldviews, values, principles, philosophy, morality, and human nature. My artwork and ideas is representative of people and animals I feel tell a story with expression such as the homeless, the abused, the condemned, and years of hard living. I feel that I have a responsibility to use the gift I have been given to show these subjects exist, are not forgotten, and that this is a reality in the world. I work long meticulous hours on my artwork so that the subjects I work so hard to capture in my artwork can do more of the speaking than the artist—my portraits really do speak a thousand words.
Sherif learned at a young age to draw from his aunt, who sat down and just sketched a quick drawing of a dog. Immediately after that, Sherif began drawing cartoons of Bugs Bunny and tracing it to make copies for his friends to have. Sherif did not have traditional training or education in art as a child and so art had to be a self-taught skill that, fortunately, came easy. In middle school, Sherif had an art class and it was there that he was introduced to the charcoal medium. The manipulation of the charcoal really matched well with Sherif’s drawing skills and so naturally, his skills were elevated the more he used the medium.
When Sherif was 11, he had not picked up a pencil to draw until he was 24 years old. He would watch videos on the internet of other artists creating unbelievable photorealistic work. Sherif would watch and with utter confidence would claim that he can create the same photorealistic portraits as the artist on the internet can. It was then when he reproduced a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his bodybuilding days that when people saw it, could not believe that this was the first piece after a 14 year hiatus. At this point, Sherif began taking his art very seriously and began creating pieces of artwork when his busy schedule of full time work and full time school would allow him to. Since then, Sherif has sold originals and prints of previous works and is continuing to grow his portfolio with outstanding pieces of work for the public.