The illustrations of Raymond Lemstra have an age. They are ghost-like and seemingly antiqued. His tobacco stained portrait work acts as a catalog of sorts, the figures populating Lemstra’s canvases are strange, alien, yet oddly human.
There is a comic quality to his characters, but there is also darkness. Lemstra creates pieces of quiet menace and charm, which he has applied to editorial work for The New York Times and Mercedes-Benz.
Lemstra’s work contains markers of identity, of history. His armored figures, faces covered in Tengu-like masks, exist in the same spiritual realm as the Hopi Indian Kachina doll design. Faces built for ritual, His characters are natives, softly rendered in crisp graphite. Distorted and exaggerated, Lemstra’s figures are haunting images from a world awaiting a narrative.