Before the days of electronic books and virtual documents, readers had to regularly walk into an actual building to check out something new to read from the library. During the checkout process, the librarian stamped the due date in the back of the book, leaving a trail of ink stamps on the card as evidence of previous readers. Using those very same date stamps and black ink, Berlin-based artist Federico Pietrella paints these incredibly detailed, pointillist-like paintings, where numbers and ink merge together to form larger scenes.
Originally, Pietrella would complete a painting and include the date as a side note in the corner of the canvas. He was later inspired to actually use those date marks to build the entire composition of his paintings. Each piece consists of stamped dates which correspond to the actual date, so a completed piece will include every date from the first day of painting through the completion of the work. Just one piece can take up to two months to finish and the artist says, “Time is a mysterious thing, for me it's the most important thing from which everything is derived: work, existence, life.”
From cityscapes to portraits, Pietrella proves to have immense patience and a strong vision that leads to the successful execution of each complicated painting. From a distance, viewers can appreciate a lovely landscape with various gray tones and natural dark and light shades. Then, upon gaining closer proximity to the canvas, the work becomes even more captivating as viewers can peruse the detailed number patterns that form each shape.
Check out the video below to see an interview with Pietrella and to learn more about the artist.