When you meet someone as cool as Christian for the first time it is hard to put into words how amazing his work and general approach is.
My introduction to his craft came along on a routine end of September afternoon filled with the usual mix of joy and frustration that our day’s deliver. I decide to switch off for a few minutes and indulge in some guilt free mindless scrolling on social media when I come across a short video titled the creatives by GBC. The quality of the recording grabs my attention instantaneously and the content blew me away enough to loose count of how many times I watched it.
Self-taught and driven by a deep desire of mastery inspired by a friend’s father who admitted that one of his main regrets in life was not mastering one single instrument, led to the conclusion that mastery is necessary to become the best at what you love.
From a young age he was always been interested in different types of art, with his main inspirations coming from the human anatomy and a desire to learn how things work taking things apart and putting them back together.
Engraving is an art that is as old as man with the earliest recordings of the practice going back as far as 60,000BC where humans engraved ostrich eggshells used as water containers. It is an art with imitable results where each craftsman adds his personal character to the piece one that is clearly evident when you scroll through Christians portfolio.
I work in an industry where engraving plays a huge part with major players like, Patek Philippe, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin keeping the ancestral art alive one that nearly disappeared during the quartz crisis between 1970 and 1980. It is a practice that is typically passed down from one generation to another and of which a lifetime is necessary to master.
Christian has no jewellery or watchmaking background he makes his own tools and is constantly improving his technique one that is made up of primarily Bulino and relief engraving. Sensitivity, rigor and exactitude in striving to attain perfection are the main qualities that he delivers in every creation, visualising the piece in question for weeks in advance to the point that he can carry out the portrait by memory.
But before beginning to engrave a new piece, unique in so many ways he sketches his subject and all the motifs that it will comprise. Whether it is a miniature reproduction or an original work, a personal creation or a concept based on a drawing provided by a client.
With Focused gaze and full intention in every action the next step is to transfer all the burin’s guiding lines to the metal surface in dry-point. The results are truly breath-taking with the Queen and Coat of arms being my personal favourites.
At the moment he is in the early stages of his journey but one would be forgiven in believing that he was much more ahead than the time he has spent on his craft, with his accelerated progress being attributed to one single statement: “It is amazing what you can do when you don’t waste any time”
Christian is certain of what he wants to achieve and with a slight pause and a gentle gaze you are sure that he has already envisioned his future success.
For more on Christians work check out his portfolio via: www.xlimaengraving.com