Mega-pop star Miley Cyrus and more than a million people around the world are in love with East London’ artist Meghan Maconochie’s unique pencil-shaving sketch of iconic ’60s sex siren Marilyn Monroe.
The part-time information technology teacher at Merrifield Preparatory School hit the big-time two weeks ago when she posted the colourful sketch of Monroe on Instagram.
The image was “regrammed” (reposted) on to the Instagram site, which is where US singer, songwriter and actress Cyrus, who has also sported the Monroe look – blonde hair and bright red lipstick – spotted it.
Cyrus then regrammed the image on her site, with the message: “South African school teacher Meghan Maconochie’s artwork!!! Made all from pencil shavings! S-o-o-o-o-o stoked Insta is here on earth so we can share our art around the world.” Cyrus’s post attracted 1462 comments.
While the image on Instagram scored 800000 “likes”, a further 300000 of Cyrus’s fans hit the like button and 1000 of Maconochie’s 30000 followers liked it.
Yesterday, Maconochie was photographed and filmed by Saturday Dispatch while displaying her creative technique at her home-based studio in Beacon Bay, before she rushed off to teach.
Each day, Maconochie does a lot of pencil-sharpening to create a sketch, which she photographs and posts on her Instagran account. She has created mini-portraits of Madiba, of pizzas, burgers and even Marmite using the shavings from colour pencils.
It all started when she participated in the Nifty250 colour competition last year.
Nifty250, a South African project, was created with the aim of reviving the art of photography.
“I was sharpening a pencil when I decided to create the Nifty250 logo using the shavings from the pencil,” Maconochie said. She entered her sketch and was named the winner.
Maconochie used the pencil- shavings idea to start an original Project365, which involves a commitment to taking one photo every day for a year, and sharing them on a variety of sites.
She first does a pencil sketch on paper or a card, using it as a base. Then she applies a thin layer of shavings on the outer edges of the drawing. “I then layer it up to give it a more sculptural look.”
Maconochie sharpens each pencil by hand and can use from half a pencil to boxes of pencils to create a sketch. “My hands have calluses from all the sharpening. Depending on what I am sketching, it can take me minutes or hours and hours to complete a work.” She was on artwork 231 yesterday, with 134 to go.
Her inspiration comes from her “awesome” online followers, her pupils and lovers of pop art and popular culture. She intends selling limited-edition prints and exhibiting her work. “There will only be 10 prints of each image and I am planning to set up a website.”