with architectural model
Bulgarian artist Ognyan Stefanov pairs his day job as an aviation photographer with an equally lofty practice of crafting lavish architectural miniatures that soar high in the air. One of his creations is this utopic village, aptly named “Skyville,” which was designed as a self-sustaining enclave complete with shops, farms and gardens, a library, and a few homes, including the main house with the individually tiled pitched roof. Posted atop a latticed tower, the heavily landscaped town was designed to mimic real functionality with a water drainage system, pulleys, and walkways that climb from level to level.
Created at a 1/87 scale and spanning 36 x 16 inches, the 60-pound model took Stefanov two years to complete and is an amalgamation of wooden stirrers, popsicle sticks, and photo-etching techniques. Each scene is crafted with meticulous detail, from the luxe interiors filled with a chandelier, wrought iron bed frame, and framed artworks to the architectural elements like the wooden beams and circular windows. Even the minuscule characters appear to be in the middle of a task.
Check out Stefanov’s page dedicated to “Skyville” to see the work in progress and more glimpses of its richly decorated interiors.
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Connecticut-based Syrian-born artist Mohamad Hafez (previously) uses found objects, paint, and scrap metal to create architectural dioramas of Middle Eastern urban environments. The photorealistic miniatures are packed with detail and speak to the political and social issues plaguing the artist’s war-torn homeland.
An architect by trade, Hafez imagines and builds cross-sections of streets and structures covered in grime and graffiti. Situated within suitcases and picture frames, the wall-mounted pieces are meant to be viewed and considered up close. Exposed rusty pipes, rubble, and weathered doorways of the crumbling nation are contrasted by hopeful verses from the Quran. The streetscapes, according to statement on the artist’s website, combine Hafez’s interests in street art and activism. While feeling helpless to bring about meaningful changes in Syria, his intention with the dioramas is to “expose the Middle East’s conflicts to the world in a modest, artistic approach to appeal to a wider contemporary audience.”
Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery at Cuesta College is currently hosting a Retrospective exhibition of Hafez’s work through December 20, 2019. His miniatures can also be seen at The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago as their first “interpreter-in-residence.” To dive deeper into Hafez’s miniature worlds, follow the artist on Instagram.
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