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Art Photography

Perception-Twisting Miniatures by Artist Frank Kunert Transform the Mundane into the Surreal

July 31, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Frank Kunert, shared with permission

Frank Kunert (previously) is a Germany-based photographer and modelmaker who creates mind-stretching scenes that, from afar, appear like everyday urban environments with the same beige color palette and concrete walls that are common across the world. On closer inspection, though, Kunert’s work reveals itself to be a series of surreal scenarioshe takes viewers on a fantastical journey in which mundane objects are transformed and merged into unusual architectural scenes that explore the “absurdity of life.”

In one work, a cot is sandwiched in the middle of a desk and bookcases, while in another, two old stools sitting on a small carpet face a large window that resides high in the sky, with two minuscule glasses of rosy wine positioned beside them. Each piece of Kunert’s tiny, perception-twisting models takes him weeks to months to create, and afterward, he photographs them with a large-format, analog camera.

Kunert turns common objects into pieces of admiration, giving viewers the chance to reflect on redesigning old collectibles or waste items for new uses. Throughout this period, social distancing has influenced Kunert’s work and many of his designs reflect a new normal. For example, he redesigned an old wooden table, which he divided into individual booths for diners. 

You can view more of the artist’s projects on Instagram and in his book, Frank Kunert: Lifestyle, which is available on Bookshop.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Biologically Accurate Sculptures of Animals by Fanni Sandor Are Smaller Than a Fingernail

July 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Fanni Sandor, shared with permission

Fanni Sandor has been fascinated by miniatures since childhood, constructing her first sculpture from toothpicks, candle wax, paper, and glue at six years old. “In my country, there (are) no traditions of the 1:12 scale miniature making. In my twenties, I met the first professional miniaturist’s work through the internet. I was completely fascinated,” she tells Colossal.

Today, the Hungary-based biologist and artist fashions minuscule baby bluejays clamoring for food, a mouse peeking out from a bit of bread, and a waddling family of mallards. Inspired by her background in biology, the miniatures feature incredibly accurate details, and most fit easily on the tip of a finger.

Sandor will spend anywhere from two days to two weeks on a single piece, noting that the robin’s nest alone took three days. Her process is multifaceted and begins with collecting photographs of the species before sketching a prototype. Forgoing molds, the artist employs embossing and pin-ending tools to sculpt the animal figures from polymer clay and wire. After baking, she chisels a few more details, paints, and attaches the fur and feathers where necessary.

In 2016, Sandor become a fellow at The International Guild of Miniature Artisans. To follow her upcoming projects, head to Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

30 Hand-Cranked Machines Comprise Amusing Series of Miniatures by Artist Federico Tobon

June 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

Similar to Lalese Stamps’s personal challenge to create 100 ceramic mug handles, a Los Angeles-based artist has crafted an amusing series of hand-cranked automatons in just 30 days. Federico Tobon, of wolfCat Workshop, used popsicle sticks, metal clips, paper, and scrap material for One Month of Small Machines, a four-week-long project that generated different, moveable figures and animals each day. “The A-HA moment from these projects was when I discovered that using paper gives these machines a very organic feel,” he said. “Some of them would look very stiff and mechanical otherwise.”

Since November 2017 when Tobon created these miniature apparatuses, he’s taken on more month-long challenges, which he often shares on Instagram. Check out the full collection on his site or by watching the video below. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Design

Barbie and Ken Get Relatable Quarantine Makeovers in Humorous Miniature Sets

May 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Tonya Ruiz

Barbies have garnered attention for years because of their unrealistic proportions, lack of diversity, and gendered activities. Despite some noteworthy changes, Tonya Ruiz, a former model turned toy designer, thought the usual selection of lavishly dressed and accessorized dolls could use another update that’s a little more timely. “When the quarantine started and I saw a couple of funny pandemic Barbies, I thought that I should make a Barbie that everyone could relate to. I created the quarantine starter pack: curvy doll in stretchy pants,” Ruiz says about the self-inspired doll that spurred the makeovers in a recent video.

Known as Grandma Gets Real, Ruiz has been creating parodic sets that highlight some of the most relatable quarantine activities. There’s a quarreling couple that has a plethora of cleaning products, a cast-iron of eggs, and a just-out-of-reach guide detailing how to divvy up chores. A scrubs-wearing nurse is complete with a miniature lab coat, X-rays, and thermometer, while bread-baking Barbie is covered in a white dusting of flour.

Ruiz shares updates of her toy spoofs on Instagram, in addition to close-ups of her miniature essentials, snacks, and quarantine activities. You also might enjoy these fake toys deposited on store shelves by Obvious Plant. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Design

Mid-Century Modern Perches Offer a Minimalist Haven for Backyard Birds

May 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Douglas Bernhard

Accented with wood-slatted porches and bright water dishes, these mid-century modern birdhouses by Douglas Barnhard give avian neighbors with particular aesthetic sensibilities a reason to flock home. Barnhard, who’s behind the Santa Cruz-based company Sourgrassbuilt, builds the succulent-studded abodes from bamboo, cedar, teak, and glossy laminate. With clean lines and angular features, they emulate the architecture pioneered by Joseph Eichler, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Bauhaus.

To offer your feathered companions a modern upgrade, see which works Barnhard has available on Etsy, and check out the home he renovated into a miniature art gallery on Instagram. (via Apartment Therapy)

 

 

 



Art

A Tiny Lizard Attends Miniature Gallery Opening to See ‘American Gecko’ and ‘The Birth of Gecko’

April 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jill Young

The Gecko Museum’s opening only had one visitor to consider its most prized pieces: a mango-loving crested gecko that goes by The Mayor. Arriving around 7 p.m., the nocturnal lizard visited his personal gallery earlier this week, stopping to contemplate “American Gecko” and “The Birth of Gecko.” Dallas-based Jill Young, who both painted and curated the miniature museum’s permanent collection as part of a humorous quarantine activity, told Hyperallergic that “The Mayor was particularly fond of my ‘American Gothic’ spoof, ‘American Gecko.’ I guess he’s in an American Modernism phase.”

Similar to the brothers, Pandoro and Tiramisù, that disregarded signs requesting they not chew on the furniture or artworks in The Gerbil Museum, The Mayor ignored the red rope cordoning off the artworks. “I now understand that The Mayor’s relationship to art is a necessarily tactile one, which I can appreciate,” Young said. Despite her gecko’s unconventional approach to art, though, Young hopes to see the small-scale trend continue. “Every pet deserves a cultural outing,” she said.

 

 

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