Working at 1:20 scale, artist Joshua Smith builds in-depth works that capture the layered existences of urban environments in cities such as Hong Kong, Sydney, and Los Angeles. His miniature buildings showcase the details and detritus left by the diverse population of each city, bringing in elements of the city’s workers, inhabitants, and street artists. These marks can be seen through heavily graffitied exteriors, and thoughtful additions like a small table on the roof of one building with takeout food from the tiny Chinese restaurant below.
Smith has been working on this series for the last two years, after stints as both a stencil artist and gallerist. Using several reference photos from a building’s actual site, he utilizes MDF, cardboard, and plastic to create the base of the work, and chooses paint and chalk pastels for the exterior’s details. Smith’s newest four-story work took him three months to complete, often working 8-16 hours a day.
As part of her ongoing series titled Traveling Landscapes, New York-based artist Kathleen Vance constructs entire landscapes inside of old steamer trunks and repurposed luggage. Many of the pieces incorporate real running water, soil, and living plant life to form encapsulated environments, though others are constructed from common model making materials and resin. The pieces are intended to speak to the fragility of drinking water reservoirs and issues of water rights. She shares in her artist statement:
Materials that are commonly defined as natural and artificial are combined in the creation of these works, isolating aspects that are indicative of the ‘natural’ (while sometimes are considered unnatural). The landscapes created are transformative in their illusion of a nature scene; they are contained in traveling cases to magnify the displacement of a seemingly natural landscape in an unusual framework. These pieces extenuate the desire for ‘untouched’ natural environments, and the claim and proprietorship that are placed on plots of land, which carries over to water rights.
Produced between 2006 and 2009, Australian designer and illustrator Dan McPharlin's Analogue Miniatures are a marvel of papercraft. The tiny analogue synthesizers and pieces of recording equipment were pieced together with paper, framing mat board, string, rubber bands and cardboard, and appeared in everything from art shows to editorial spreads in magazines like Esquire. McPharlin is widely known for his retro sci-fi illustration work that appears on album covers and in limited edition prints, and he brings this aspect of fiction to these paper models as well. None of the objects are meant as exact replicas or recreations of real-life devices, but are instead speculative objects that draw aesthetic attributes from the audio technology of the 70s and 80s.
Portland-based artist and illustrator Song Kang creates highly textural work, whether that’s in her drawn explorations or sculptures produced from found and natural materials. Her miniature works are dream-like environments and houses, many built on backs of animals like oxen and camels. Kang likes to imagine these sculptures as visual scavenger hunts, and often inserts even tinier occupants that sit and stand around her micro-cities.
For her Carved in Stone series, Kang imposes architectural forms onto the surfaces of found rocks. “The structures follow the curvature of the rocks, skewing the perspective and creating surreal environments,” Kang shares. “By becoming part of the surface rather than projecting outwards, the architecture becomes almost textural, a relief sculpture.”
You can see more of Kang’s two and three dimensional work on her Instagram and Behance.
The folks over at London-based Little Planet Factory make tiny 3d-printed planets and moons you can sit on your desktop or hold in your hands. Designs include everything from entire solar systems to collections of moons, individual planets, and even science fiction creations like a theoretical terraformed Mars globe. See more in their shop! (via So Super Awesome)
Paper engineer Aliaksei Zholner has wowed us before with his miniature V8 engine, and now brings his crafty talents to the musical realm with this working paper organ. The tiny organ has 18 functional keys that create tones with the aid of corresponding reeds, and of course a pipe organ can’t function without a steady air flow, a problem Zholner solves with a large balloon. (via Sploid)