The stacked character poster-style art piece titled “Potter” is an Olympiad feat in mental endurance. The impressive, stacked-character-poster-style tribute is a seemingly pencil-sketched montage of many characters from the Harry Potter films. But step closer, and you’ll notice that the nearly six-by-four-foot wooden canvas consists of 5,000 meters of black string painstakingly wrapped around 58,000 nails – the world’s most complicated connect-the-dots.
It took string artist Ben Koracevic over 800 hours and 85 straight days to complete "Potter."
“I would call it my form of meditation for sure,” says Koracevic, an English artist who launched his Stringometry Art studio in 2019. “The mind-numbing boredom that increases after a period of time is where the true lessons come from. I relish the opportunity to put myself in those situations. Self-discipline and accountability are my greatest assets.”
The first two years of his endeavor, he says, were brutal. Koracevic sold his clothes, his car, maxed out credit cards, borrowed from friends, and did everything he could to pursue his string art obsession, leaving behind a sustainable career as a greenskeeper. “People around me … questioned what on earth I was doing,” Koracevic says. “But despite all the struggle and sleepless nights, I never lost sight of my vision. All the negativity and doubt was just more fuel for me.”
But after his first piece sold, Stringometry took off. His pieces range from mixed-media originals to portraits of celebrities (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), odes to movies (John Wick, Wolf of Wall Street), or string recreations of iconic photographs (“Lunch Upon a Skyscraper”). And he’s currently working on a two-way court card of Heath Ledger’s Joker.
Each piece starts with sometimes 50-plus hours of planning, using a grid system – a drawn image that is upscaled onto a wooden canvas. Next, Koracevic tediously marks where the nails go, hammers them in, and then begins using the string as a shader, “building layers of string for darker tones.” “It really is a process that you learn by doing,” he says, “so it will continue to evolve for me, experimenting with different nails and thicknesses of string.”
After the thousands upon thousands of hours he’s put in, Koracevic says the biggest thing he’s ever learned is to trust your instincts. “Never forget that 99 percent of the advice you receive is an opinion, not a fact. So, be careful what opinions you let influence your journey. Stress and hassle are inevitable with any venture in life, so maintain perspective and always keep it fun!”
Photos courtesy of Ben Koracevic