Meeting the man who draws with his eyes

Black and white image, dark walled room, woman sat in the corner on a stool dressed in black, Fink sat at a desk looking at his open laptop, glass of water, wooden floor, bright white screen displaying Fink's sketch in progress
Graham Fink, who 'draws' computerised portraits using laser beams that track the movements of his eyeballs
(Image credit: TBC)

Graham Fink (opens in new tab)'s relaxed features belie the intense concentration in his eyes. Staring at a blank canvas on his laptop, a series of darting, energetic lines build until a face emerges from the visual cacophony on the screen. Blurring the boundaries between performance, mark-making and advanced medical technology, Fink's 'Drawing With My Eyes (opens in new tab)' is a continuation of his oeuvre as an artist and portraitist, as well as a further exploration of pareidolia, the phenomenon of seeing faces in unassuming everyday items.

At the heart of his art is a program; a complex one developed between the inquisitive artist and Swedish eye-tracking leader. Together they created a system which shines two infrared lights directly into each eye, the reflections of which are recorded by a camera via multi-algorithms and filters, allowing eye movements to be transferred on screen.

'I was doing a lot of drawing, exploring portraiture and thinking of how to do it in a way that hadn't been done before,' explains Fink. 'I thought if it was possible to track a simple line, going from point to point, perhaps it was possible to draw a continuous line in a kind of freestyle way.'  Each drawing can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes.

Comparisons have been drawn between Fink's programme and James Powderly's EyeWriter (opens in new tab), an open source app developed to help physically impaired graffiti artists create again. It is no doubt in part down to Tobii's role as a leader in developing tools for individuals with chronic neurological conditions like ALS and cerebral palsy.  Similar tools have existed for years and have even been used in advertising too. This is Fink's own world; he worked for Ogilvy & Mather, one of New York's largest marketing companies, for years.

Finding unbridled creative freedom in his hands - or mind, as the case may be - Fink admits the program never quite does what he wants it to. 'I never set out to draw a face, but take the line on a journey,' he says, 'The face always appears after some time. All I have to do is look.' 

Close up of a blue eye, finger and thumb holding it open, reflection of the person taking the photograph in the pupil

The portraits are created using a system which shines two infrared lights directly into each eye, the reflections of which are recorded, allowing eye movements to be transferred on to a screen

(Image credit: TBC)

A Fink laser eye drawing of a persons head, face and shoulder on a white background

The series, which blurs the boundaries between performance, mark-making and advanced medical technology, is called 'Drawing with my Eyes'

(Image credit: TBC)

A Fink laser eye drawing of a persons head, face and shoulder on a white background

As well as being a continuation of Fink's oeuvre as an artist and portraitist, the series is an exploration of pareidolia, the phenomenon of seeing faces in unassuming everyday items

(Image credit: TBC)

A Fink laser eye drawing of a persons head, face and shoulder on a white background

'I was doing a lot of drawing, exploring portraiture and thinking of how to do it in a way that hadn't been done before,' explains Fink

(Image credit: TBC)

A Fink laser eye drawing of a persons head, face and shoulder on a white background

'I thought if it was possible to track a simple line, going from point to point, perhaps it was possible to draw a continuous line in a kind of freestyle way,' he continues

(Image credit: TBC)

A Fink laser eye drawing of a persons head, face and shoulder on a white background

Each drawing can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes

(Image credit: TBC)

Black background, A Fink laser eye drawing of a persons head, face and shoulder on a white marble canvas

Some of the drawings were transferred onto marble for an exhibition at London's Riflemaker Gallery

(Image credit: TBC)

Black and white image, Fink sat at his desk looking at one of his drawings on a laptop screen, bright white projector screen in the back drop, black wall, glass of water on desk

Fink at work

(Image credit: TBC)

ADDRESS

Olympia London
Hammersmith Road
London
W14 8UX

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