At first glance, the detailed artwork of London-based Ben Koracevic looks like it’s rendered in graphite pencil. However, a closer look reveals that his portraits of people and animals are actually made with string.
Using thousands of nails carefully positioned on a blank white canvas, Koracevic spends countless hours meticulously winding long lengths of black string around the metal bolts. In larger works, a single piece of string can measure up to nearly 2,500 meters (about 8,200 feet) long. Over time, each piece comes to life as a complex drawing, where depth and tone are achieved by criss-crossing the thread over itself. The more times the string passes over an area, the darker and more opaque tone it displays.
Often spending up to 500 hours on a single portrait, Koracevic says the key to his work is “Persistence, Passion, Patience.” The self-taught artist is driven by his passion to push the boundaries of his craft. He says, “Creating emotion and expression from this rare art form is a constant challenge. It motivates me to produce uniquely detailed art pieces that are consumed with hours of pride and enjoyment.”
From majestic animal portraits to photorealistic depictions of celebrities, each of Koracevic’s string art masterpieces is impressively detailed. If you want to appreciate the intricacy of these works up-close, you can see a curated selection from Koracevic’s portfolio at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space in London from July 2 through October 30, 2020.
Check out some of Koracevic’s fantastic string art below.