The largest pin and thread art in the world by Saeed Bashoon

String art is a contemporary art form that uses - you guessed it - string or thread to create ethereal portraits, landscapes, or structures.

In fact, artists practicing this method are not always gifted painters but rather rely on mathematics to creates these artworks.

That's according to Saeed Howidi Bashoon, the Iraqi artist who just broke the record title for the largest pin and thread art.

For this artwork, Bashoon used 500 pins and an 6,637m-long piece of thread (that is as high as Mount Kilimanjaro, or eight times the height of Burj Khalifa) to create a 6.3 m² (67 ft² 20 in²) art piece.

It illustrates the face of vitiligo advocate Logina Salah from Egypt, who was diagnosed with this skin disorder at a very young age.

The skin-positive content creator Salah was a makeup artist for 15 years. 

"Make-up and self-acceptance are not the typical mix. I always used to hide under my makeup," Salah shares.

Having her portrait selected for this record-breaking artwork has made her even more focused on inspiring all women to accept their unique attributes.

"I had my battles for acceptance for the past 15 years. Today, being on a work of art that holds a Guinness World Records title makes me feel empowered and responsible to spread strength and hope for those who share this skin-disorder," - Logina Salah

Saeed Bashoon while drawing the largest pin and thread art

"My message to those who have it is that you are beautifully different and not a duplicate of someone else."

"This artwork translated the message of people with vitiligo. It definitely created more noise than any words you can say," added Logina.

Bashoon confines his works to boards where interwoven strings are anchored by pins. This results in captivating, three-dimensional art. 

He was first introduced to this art during a trip to Lebanon, where he was gifted a small artwork of the same sort. He kept wondering how it was 'engineered' as he had initial thoughts of it being made by a machine.

After multiple tries, he finally managed to understand its method, which brought him to a more complicated level of creating portraits of people. 

This specific portrait of Logina took around 16 hours of work. Other portraits might take as long as 40 hours to complete depending on how detailed they are.

Collage images of Logina salah

The 23-year-old Iraqi is now working to draft the first written and filmed course covering this technique for those who wish to learn.

Speaking about the endurance needed to be a string-artist, Bashoon said, "it requires a lot of stamina and physical power. You might end up doing hundreds of squat-like movements to complete one side of the artwork."

Bashoon uses Breisam for his art, a type of thread made of raw silk. He gets it shipped from Turkey in large quantities due to lack of supply in his hometown of Karbala.

Close up image of the largest pin and thread art

But how does he create shapes and depth out of string?

"It is how much light do you allow to be reflected on the background, and how many time does each thread crosses over a certain area of the portrait," he explained.

For example, if you require an area of the portrait to be quite dark, it required multiple layers of thread, while light areas need less.

"If you have been looking for the cool part of mathematics, you have finally found it!"

The young artist is currently planning the "next-level" of his string art, where he will use wires rather than threads. He is also working on a project that will depict a bridge, which will be put on display in a public park in the near future.

Iraqi artist Saeed Bashoon standing in front of his pin and thread art