Mental Floss

Pounding Away at the Art World

Jill Harness

The measure of a true artist doesn't come down to what medium he uses so much as how effectively he uses his chosen medium. Marcus Levine is a perfect example. He makes stunning portraits using nothing more than a hammer, some nails and wooden boards. In order to get this amazing level of details, he has to work on massive canvases. Each piece can take up to three weeks.

If you're one of those people who feels bad about hammering themselves in the finger every time you try to hang a portrait, give yourself a break. Even a master nail artist hits himself once in a while. “It takes around 3,500 nails per picture," he says, "and I regularly cut myself and occasionally hit my finger with the hammer. So I do suffer for my art."