David Foster’s Amazing Hammered-Nail Portraits

Who would have ever thought that fine art could be created out of something as crude as a hammer and a bunch of nails? I’ve seen several art forms made using Pointillism before, but former architect David Foster’s work is quite unique. At first glance, it’s hard to believe that his breathtaking portraits were once a plain box of nails.

David’s art covers a range of subjects: celebrities, animals, flowers and get this – even a hammer and nail! The level of precision and realism in his art is a result of years of practicing and perfecting his technique. On his website he says, “I have always been fascinated with how little information the brain needs to interpret a picture.” He loves the simplicity of a picture just made out of dots.

When he started making portraits, David worked only with ink. He began experimenting with nails only in the past couple of years. He starts with a photograph of the subject, which he painstakingly reproduces by stippling with an ink pen. He enlarges the inked drawing to mark out where the nails go. Then the nailing begins, and many thousands of nails later, the piece is complete. On an average, his smaller drawings number about 5,000 nails, while larger ones can have as many as 30,000. David’s prize winning piece made from 16,000 nails is called Lashes and Nails.

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David evidently loves what he does, going by what he tells us on his website. “The whole process thrills me, taking just a hammer and a box of nails and arranging them into an artwork. It is very tactile art and the viewer will find it hard not to touch the work,” he writes. He also insists that the best way to view his work is up close, since photographs don’t do much justice to it.

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As much as I’d like to, I don’t think I’m ever going to get to see David’s work in person. But I did see the time-lapse video of the creation of Marilyn in Nails. It’s a beautiful piece and the video depicts just how tedious the process really is. Kudos to this amazing artist!

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 Sources: Just Something, Visual News


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