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Art

Architectural Miniatures by Mohamad Hafez Promote Meaningful Dialogue About Conflict in Syria

October 27, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Framed Nostalgia (2019), 31 x 37 x 10 inches. Images courtesy of the artist

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.

Framed Nostalgia 1 (2019) (detail)

Framed Nostalgia 1 (2019), detail


WWII Box (from the Baggage Series, detail

Framed Nostalgia 2 (2019), 31 x 37 x 10 inches.

Hiraeth, 61 x 35 x 21 inches.

Hiraeth, detail.

Unsettled Nostalgia. 12 x 60 x 8 inches

Unsettled Nostalgia, detail.

 

 



Photography

Miniature Houses Become Life-Size Desert Dwellings in Samy Al Olabi’s Imaginative Photographs

October 3, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Real and imagined worlds come together in photographer Samy Al Olabi’s nighttime landscapes. Miniature structures like log cabins, light houses, and abandoned ships are set against a backdrop of the United Arab Emirates desert with distant galaxies glimmering in the night sky. Olabi’s lifelong interest in astronomy inspired his professional affinity for astrophotography, along with a sense of wonder and play. The photographer, who is based in Dubai, sets out with an equipment-packed SUV to camp out and shoot his fanciful images on-site. By stitching together multiple photos to get the correct blend of lighting and focus—which he explains in detail on PetaPixel—Olabi’s final images create new visual narratives. See more of the artist’s work on Instagram and Facebook. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Illustration

Perfectly Round Tattoos by Eva Encompass Miniature Worlds Inspired by Art History

September 18, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Turkish tattoo artist Havva Karabudak (who goes by Eva in the U.S.) creates incredibly detailed illustrations on clients’ limbs, all carefully rendered within the confines of perfect circles. The artist, who splits her times between residencies in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, has been honing her craft for almost nine years. Previously, Eva worked as an art teacher and muralist; she got into tattooing through a friend who worked in the industry.

Using almost impossibly small lines, Eva inks interpretations of famed paintings by Matisse, van Gogh, and Klimt, as well as Hokusai’s The Great Wave woodblock print and Maurice Sendak’s illustrations in Where The Wild Things Are. The artist also specializes in water scenes and evening skies, giving a suggestion of infinite depth to her petite tattoos.

Eva is currently booked through November, but you can see more of her recent illustrative tattoos on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Miniature Castles Emerge from Burled Wood in Carved Kinetic Sculptures by Uli Kirchler

September 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Woodworker Uli Kirchler’s “very hidden castles” are nestled within gnarled tree burls. The Portland, Oregon-based artist originally hails from Italy, and works with unique pieces of wood with textural surfaces and variegated colorations. He has developed a process of carving multi-story towers that telescope in and out of the wood with the flick of a wrist. The stacked, castle-like towers appear to be built on the rocky hillsides emulated by the knots, burls, and twists in the wood’s natural shape. Kirchler frequently shows his kinetic sculptures at the Portland Saturday Market You can see more of his designs in action on Instagram. (via Art Insider)

 

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Craft Design Food

Sculptures of Everyday Meals and Household Goods Crafted From Brightly Colored Paper by Lee Ji-Hee

August 20, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Korean paper artist Lee Ji-hee builds scale models of food, household furnishings, and brightly colored vehicles for her commercial clients. The works are meticulously designed down to the smallest detail, such as the striped lining of a pink and yellow car seat, or speckles of detritus being swept up by a set of vacuums. In 2017 the artist created a series of vintage cameras, dramatically lighting each as if on the set of a noir film. You can see more of her perfectly folded and glued miniature works on her website, Instagram, and Behance.

 

 

 



Art

Urban Weed Awards Crown Unwanted Plants with Superlatives

July 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Michael Pederson (previously) takes note of small, peculiar moments with his outdoor interventions. Frequently using subtly humorous signage, the artist, who goes by ‘Miguel Marquez Outside’, draws the attention of passersby to places where perception of seemingly banal scenarios are reimagined in surprising ways. His most recent project was the Urban Weed Awards, for which Pederson created official-looking plaques to denote superlatives for plants that most people might consider a nuisance. He designated three weeds as winners for “unique site”, “best in show”, and “most delicate”. Follow along with Pederson’s work on Instagram and Tumblr. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Art Craft

Thousands of Miniature Vases in a Rainbow of Glazes by Ceramic Artist Yuta Segawa

July 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Japanese ceramicist Yuta Segawa plays with scale and color in his multitudes of miniature vessels. Each hand-thrown pot and vase is crafted with the same attention to structure and detail that a full-sized piece would have, from the tidy foot to the gracefully shaped neck. Segawa also formulates his own glazes, with five hundred under his belt so far.

To accentuate the small size and complementary colors of his ceramics, Segawa often displays the vessels in long, neat rows, or arranges them in a scattered formation that shifts between warm and cool tones. Segawa describes the intention behind his work in a statement on his SGW Studio website: “Miniature pottery relates to the issue of the relationship between artists’ bodies and their works. It is a challenge to test the limits of what a human body can make on such a small scale.”

In addition to his pint-sized pottery, the London-based artist also experiments with using his feet and tongue in place of his hands to shape pots, a technique he refers to as “body throwing“, and glazes mountainous piles of collapsed vessels that send up the notion of ceramics as functional vessels. Pick up a tiny pot of your own in Segawa’s online store, and watch the making-of in the video below. Segawa also shares updates on in-progess and completed pieces on Instagram. If you enjoy Segawa’s work, also check out Jon Almeda.