August 22, 2023
It took Xavier Casalta a phenomenal 2,300 hours over the course of 15 months to complete his largest work to date. Featuring numerous blooms surrounding a marble bust of Marcus Aurelius—one of ancient Rome’s most celebrated emperors and philosophers—the artist (previously) estimates that the illustration contains about 48 million dots of meticulously stippled black ink.
Known for his remarkably detailed depictions of flowers, architecture, and antiquities, Casalta applies China ink to paper one speck at a time. Densely clustered areas produce darker features that contrast more minimally inked highlights. He often depicts individual historical objects, like a Penny Black stamp or impressions of people and animals on early coins. He also fills entire sheets of paper with florals or geometry, like an intricate Roman mosaic or his Four Seasons series, created in collaboration with florist Swallows & Damsons.
Casalta is currently working a new, large-scale architectural piece–he’s spent 1,200 hours on it so far–which he plans to reveal in October. In 2024, that work will also become available as a limited-edition print. You can stay tuned to the artist’s Instagram for updates, and find more information on his website.
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