David Foster’s Amazing Hammered-Nail Portraits

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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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Stunning Portraits Made with a Single Sewing Thread Wrapped through Nails

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Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita creates mind-boggling portraits by wrapping a single UNBROKEN black thread around galvanized nails, on a clear white board.

In the four years since I started Oddity Central, I’ve had the opportunity of discovering many great artists. Most of their works are nothing short of impressive, but there are a few whose artistic genius is simply breathtaking. Kumi Yamashita is definitely one of those few. The Japanese artist living in New York City uses all kinds of common objects to create arresting images, in her quest of exploring art beyond the confines of traditional media. Perhaps her most impressive technique is creating portraits by using a single thread weaved around a series of nails, on a white background. We’ve seen portraits created with thread and nails before, but nothing quite like what Yamashita can do.

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Design Duo Create Mind-Blowing Thread and Nail Portraits

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Pamela Campagna and husband Thomas Scheiderbauer create intricate thread and nail portraits based on old family photographs.

It’s amazing how someone can recreate organic shapes so well from thousands of angles created with nails and thread. Designers Pamela Campagna and Thomas Scheiderbauer take up to a month to work on each of their complicated artworks, but the outcome is certainly worth the time they put in. After analyzing an old photo they begin hammering nails into the canvas until they come up with a pixelated outline of the artwork, after which they start connecting the dots with thread. That’s easier said than done, and looking at how clean yet detailed their portraits turn out, they must have a great deal of patience.

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Taiwanese Artist Uses Nail Gun as His Brush

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Artist Chen Chun-hao, known as Howard Chen in the western world, uses a nail gun, an air compressor and millions of small nails to create incredible works of art.

Chen isn’t the only artist in the world using nails to create impressive artworks. Marcus Levine is perhaps the most famous nail-using person in the art world, but mosaic master Saimir Strati and Shannon Larratt have also experimented with the medium. But whereas the above mentioned artists hammered the nails into their canvases, Chen Chun-hao uses a nail gun, which allows him to use up to hundreds of thousands of mosquito nails (headless metal pins) for each of his masterpieces. He shoots them one by one into white canvases stretched over wooden boards, creating reproductions of traditional Chinese ink paintings.

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Marcus Levine’s Hammered Nail Art

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Using up to 50,000 rigid steel nails to recreate something as fragile and curvy as the human body isn’t the easiest of tasks, but artist Marcus Levine manages to to it without as much as a sketch.

The British artist’s road to his brilliant career has been anything but predictable. Born in Yorkshire, Levine attended the Jacob Kramer Art College, but instead of pursuing his dream of making nail art, he opted for career as a TV graphic designer, and later joined the family business. It wasn’t until 2004 that he finally decided he wanted to make art for a living, and moved to Budapest. He began hammering nails into composite wood boards and completed his first real nail artwork in 2005. He continued to perfect his technique, creating increasingly dynamic interpretations of his subjects and pushing the boundaries with each new art piece.

Marcus Levine takes between three days and two months to complete one of his hammered masterpieces and uses anywhere between 15,000 and upwards of 50,000 nails. By placing them at various heights and distances, he can create various distinct tones and manipulate the intensity of the contours. He masters several techniques, like undulating the height of a nail or rotating its head round, but Marcus admits that light has  a big part to play in his art, as “from morning sun to evening sun the shadows across the sculptures change and affect the contrast, and by altering artificial lighting, the sculptures can appear as light as a pencil sketch or as dark as a charcoal life drawing.”

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Pixelated Self-Portrait Is Made from Over 10,000 Nails and Screws

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Inspired by the work of mosaic art masters like Saimir Strati, artist Shannon Larratt has created a unique self-portrait from thousands of different nails and screws.

Shannon used a four foot sheet of heavy 3/4″ plywood as canvas and six different kinds of nails and screws space roughly 5/16″ apart. He estimates there are around 20,000 pixels in his project, and over 10,000 nails. The whole thing weighs around two hundred pounds, and the artist plans to hoist it up from an I-beam, in his studio.

The first thing Shannon did was take a photo of himself, which he then manipulated in Photoshop, so the colors would match the general range of the nails, and then converted it into an indexed color image using a custom palette that matched his nail set. He stacked up all these conversions as layers, and then started the manual labour, occasionally changing or shifting the nails slightly, to improve translation.

The result of his work is just incredible, although the artist says he has learned a lot from this project and he will do a lot better next time. But, because the process of creating one of these pixelated portraits is so time-consuming, Larrat doesn’t know exactly when he will start work on another one.

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Nailympics – The Olympic Games of Fake Nails

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Every year, teams from various countries around the world gather in Britain to compete in the Nailympics – the ultimate fake nail showdown.

For the last six years, the world’s top manicutists have been coming to Britain to show their skill in the art of fake nail making. Everyone knows everyone, but because of the accumulated  tension before every event, they don’t even talk to each other. After all, their personal egos and national pride are at stakes so there’s no place for courtesy, just focus and the desire to prove they’re number one.

Most people think of fake nails as the basic acrylic pieces glued as extensions to natural nails, but the competitors in the annual Nailympics create regular masterpieces, using  methods like airbrushing and the embedding of jewels and other trinkets. An explosion of creative madness, the fake nails entered in the “fantasy nail art” event range from fairies, pagodas and complete forest landscapes to flashing lights and revolving designs powered by small batteries strapped to the wrist.

Few people outside the nail industry has heard about the Nailympics, but it’s popularity is definitely on the rise, as the 30,000 visitors, this year, clearly show. With the manicure business still as flourishing as ever, despite the recession, the interest in over-the-top nail style is comparable to the impractical clothes showcased in fashion-shows around the world.

Some of the designs featured in the Nailympics may look ridiculous, and they may not be the perfect for doing the dishes, but to the people in the industry they “display the mastery of the nail technician’s craft.”

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Human Ivory Jewelry Is Pretty Original

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Rachel Betty Case uses finger and toe nail clippings to create cool jewelry she refers to as Human Ivory.

The artist acknowledges nails are neither bones nor teeth, but that hasn’t stopped her from comparing them to precious ivory. She uses clipped nails, resin and amber to create bizarre unisex jewelry that make perfect gifts for offbeat people.

Rachel doesn’t claim her artworks are made of real ivory, she uses the term Human Ivory, because she gets her main material (nails) from humans, and her designs have an ivory color. You can check out the rest of her works by visiting her Etsy shop or by going t her appropriately named website, ThatWomanMakesCrazyArt.com. Keep in mind you can send her your own nails, if you want to.

via StreetAnatomy

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