Turkey's 'Microangelo' turns tiny objects into artworks

A picture taken on August 23, 2019 shows a bird painted on a pumpkin seed by Turkey's micro artist Hasan Kale in Istanbul. -AFP

ISTANBUL - For Turkey's "Microangelo", any tiny, discarded item could be the canvas for his next mini masterpiece, from a matchstick to a pumpkin seed.

The delicate, impeccably detailed miniature paintings of Hasan Kale often require a magnifying glass to be able to see the nuances but can take months to complete.

Some of his best-known pieces include a scene from the movie "Pulp Fiction" on the side of a piece of popcorn and the silhouette of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on a grain of rice.

"I started this journey 25 years ago with the goal of establishing a new language in art... by transforming the objects that we put aside or see as trash into little capsules of art," he told AFP, at his Istanbul studio.

"It is a blend of experience and hand discipline. I can work on a single object for up to six months."

The 60-year-old artist, who has never had a formal art teacher, began researching miniature art in the 1980s.

He was stunned, he said, by how tiny details and touches can change a form of artistic expression.

But it was not until 1995 that he had the idea of doing it himself on unconventional objects.

He had been looking at an empty cup of coffee and noticed how the remains at the bottom formed what he thought were beautiful patterns in the small space.

"I started working on a bean. I sat down and engraved a picture of Istanbul on it.

"I enjoyed it so much that I started trying other objects," he said.

Kale has since used some 300 items and revels in the idea that any forgettable item -- from a pebblestone in the sea, to a fish bone that gets stuck in your teeth -- could become a work of art. -AFP