A Bosnian sculptor is transforming one of the artist’s most rudimentary tools, the pencil, into stunning works of art.
Jasenko Đorđević’s miniature sculptures, carved in pencil lead, are both a commentary on the medium and an invitation to reconceptualize the great art on a microscopic scale.
Inspired by lead artist Dalton Ghetti, Đorđević was the first person in Europe, and the second known artist in the world, to create miniature lead sculptures in this way, according to his website, TOLD art.
“The pencil has always been a tool for making art, but, in this case, it’s art,” said Đorđević My modern metan online community celebrating creativity and positive culture.
“And that’s the first thing that inspired me. It’s always been very symbolic to me, the pencil itself, and every sculpture that comes out of it has a meaning and a story behind it.
Đorđević, born in Tuzla in 1983, was introduced to Ghetti’s work by his brother and a passion for a new miniature medium was sparked. Before working with graphite, he also experimented with origami, successfully folding a paper boat just 1 millimeter in diameter in the year 2000, the online magazine reports.
The talented artist has been making sculptures on graphite pencils since 2010. Recalling his kindergarten and elementary school years, he said his “drawings were always very small compared to the paper”.
“I also made small sculptures out of clay,” he told the outlet, “but as I grew and changed so did the material.”
Đorđević says that since graphite is a fragile material, errors are measured in tenths of a millimeter.
And for the avid artist, the added challenge was simply irresistible.
Đorđević said he started by choosing a design that could be rendered in tiny dimensions before sketching it. He then estimates the “weak points of the sculpture”, chooses a round or square pencil and assembles a panoply of surgical scalpels.
The first phase of sculpting the rough outline takes between 5 and 10 hours, My Modern Met reported. Then, he proceeds to take high resolution photos to locate the correction points. The second phase, the “detail phase,” requires a microscope and can take up to two days.
“Lastly, I take some photos for my archives and give them a serial number,” he said.
Đorđević takes commissions. While some of his clients’ ideas are technically impossible, the artist likes to have an objective contribution to his work.
When it comes to working for himself, his inspirations are many: pop art, nature, architecture, reproductions of famous works of art and social issues.
The complexity of Đorđević’s work grew alongside his understanding of the medium he chose. Six years into her journey, in 2016 the artist had her first international exhibition in Norway and gained a global following.
Passing by TOLDart on social media, he now showcases his incredible miniature masterpieces on instagram.
Some projects occupy a “special place” in his heart, because of their social significance.
“One of them is Project Literacy,” Đorđević told the outlet, “where I made a series of sculptures that reflect human rights.”
Another, for Amnesty International, was aimed at helping people who have been wronged.
As for what keeps the artist going, he says he hasn’t gotten tired of his work yet.
“I’ve been doing this for a very long time,” he said. “It gave me meaning, opportunities, of course, pleasure, and finally, but above all, it gave me freedom.
“Freedom from the monotony of everyday life and, at times, freedom from my own thoughts.”
Đorđević has permanent exhibitions at TOLDart Atelier-Gallery and GM Gallery in Tuzla, and the Cumberland Pencil Museum in Cumbria, England.
(Courtesy of TOLD art)