miniature

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Art

Jewelry Boxes Encase Curtis Talwst Santiago’s Elaborately Constructed Narratives of Nostalgia and Identity

April 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Apprentice, the fish, the cat, the crow, and the oranges” (2018), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 5.7 x 7.6 x 6.4 centimeters. All images © Curtis Talwst Santiago, shared with permission

Within the confines of a tiny jewelry box, Canadian-Trinidadian artist Curtis Talwst Santiago (previously) nestles miniature scenes imbued with in-depth narratives of home and intimacy, diasporic identity, and memory. The elaborately built dioramas are part of Santiago’s ongoing Infinity Series, which he began in 2008 and has since expanded to include dozens of pieces replete with lush foliage, architectural features, and minuscule figures preserved in time.

In recent years, the artist has referenced his childhood and family life in the mixed-media works, including in the “Soca in the Suburbs” collection that incorporates replicas of his parents’ basement complete with thick shag carpeting and a distinctly ’70s aesthetic. These environments, Santiago explains in a statement, reflect on the necessity of private gatherings in 2020 and the importance of sharing histories across generations:

This theme of ‘Soca in the Suburbs’ emerged during Covid with the closure of clubs in the contemporary sense, dancing at home, and quarantine discos at home started popping up, and I started thinking of the family members I couldn’t see, and the parties from my memory… I’m also thinking about what I want to pass forward to my son when photographs fail. I want him to have an archive of his family history, of his cultural heritage. I want him to know where his family came from, not just ancient ancestors but his grandparents, and see the clothing they wore, and those polaroids that a lot of Caribbean people have from their rumpus room adult activities.

Some of Santiago’s works are on view as part of the Atlantic World Art Fair through May 5. You can follow his practice that spans painting, sculpture, and drawing and see more of his process on Instagram.

 

“Artist as Knight (self-portrait)” (2018), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 5.7 x 5.1 x 6.4 centimeters

“Party Can’t Done” (2020), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 9 x 8 x 8 centimeters

Detail of “Party Can’t Done” (2020), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 9 x 8 x 8 centimeters

“Olokun in Fancy Dress” (2018), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 5.7 x 5.7 x 6.4 centimeters

“Visions of Touba 1” (2021), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 5 x 10 x 5 centimeters

“Modern Nubian enjoying Ancient Dogon technology” (2021), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 7.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 centimeters

“Soca in the Suburbs” (2021), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 7.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 centimeters

Detail of “Soca in the Suburbs” (2021), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 7.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 centimeters

“March of the Jab Jabs” (2021), mixed-media diorama in a reclaimed jewelry box, 5.1 x 5.7 x 6.3 centimeters

 

 

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Craft Illustration

Impossibly Small Houseplants and Basketry Crafted from Paper by Raya Sader Bujana

April 25, 2022

Christopher Jobson

All images © Raya Sader Bujana. Photography by Leo García Méndez, shared with permission

Barcelona-based artist Raya Sader Bujana (previously) defines her work as something between sculpture and illustration, creating impossibly tiny replicas of houseplants that rest atop a finger. From leaves to blooms and thorns to branches, even the delicate woven baskets that contain the plants are constructed from paper with the aid of tweezers and scalpels in a process more akin to surgery than origami. Her background in architecture translates to an exacting quality of “composition, use of color, texture, volume, light and sometimes subject matter,” she shares. In addition to selling original works and prints on Etsy and Society6, Bujana also has a wide range of corporate clients like Coca Cola, Swarovski, and HP. You can follow more of her process and updates to her online shops on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Eerie Shelters in Miniature Tower Over a Post-Apocalyptic Universe by Simon Laveuve

April 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Ultimate Journey” (2021), mixed media, 25 x 25 x 62 centimeters, 1/35th scale. All images © Simon Laveuve, shared with permission

Tagged with graffiti and pockmarked with decay, the ramshackle structures by Simon Laveuve envision a disquieting safe haven in a post-apocalyptic world. The Paris-based artist (previously) creates miniature shelters on wooden support beams or atop grassy hills that soar high into the air, appearing to offer refuge from below. Constructed as assemblages of worn materials, vintage signs with peeling paint, and a stockpile of everyday objects, the mixed-media sculptures imagine a landscape where only the remnants of life remain. Laveuve writes about his 2021 work “The Island”:

There is the world of yesterday, but today destroyed it to build the world of tomorrow… This is where tomorrow lives, on Resurrection Island. In the heart of the abyss, we find refuges hoisted, like the banner of hope. Perched ever higher, with the secret ambition to reach the dreamy sky, the wandering clouds, and discover freedom.

A few of Laveuve’s vertical environments are included in the upcoming Small Is Beautiful exhibition in London—if you’re able to visit, you’ll also see artists previously featured on Colossal like Vincent Bal and Juho Könkköläand he also has a show slated for September in France. Until then, follow Laveuve’s practice on Instagram.

 

Detail of “The Ultimate Journey” (2021), mixed media, 25 x 25 x 62 centimeters, 1/35th scale

“Tomorrow is far away” (2022), mixed media, 34 x 40 x 50 centimeters, 1/35th scale

“The Island” (2021), mixed media, 35 x 35 x 70 centimeters, 1/35th scale

Detail of “Tomorrow is far away” (2022), mixed media, 34 x 40 x 50 centimeters, 1/35th scale

Detail of “The Island” (2021), mixed media, 35 x 35 x 70 centimeters, 1/35th scale

“Barrier gesture” (2022), mixed media, 25 x 20 x 25 centimeters, 1/35th scale

 

 



Art Craft

Daily Activities Are Interwoven into Rural Landscapes in Ágnes Herczeg’s Lace Sculptures

April 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Ágnes Herczeg, shared with permission

Strands of silk thread are delicately intertwined to create inviting pastoral scenes in miniature needlework sculptures by Ágnes Herczeg (previously). The Hungarian artist has recently begun to incorporate found driftwood into her pieces, foraged from the shores of the nearby Danube River where floodplain trees dot the riverside. Drawing inspiration from her surroundings, Herczeg’s subjects include animals, trees, landscapes, and women performing tasks like pouring tea, weaving, or taking a walk.

Fascinated by natural materials and the process of embroidery, Herczeg carefully shapes the outline of each scene with metal wire, then builds up tiny webs of fiber using a needle lace technique. Once she has carved the wood and the mesh is complete, each is colored in earthy blues, greens, and browns and bound together with thread.

You can find more of Herczeg’s work on her website, and follow updates on Instagram. Pieces available for purchase can also be found in her online shop.

 

 

 



Art

A Miniature Arcade, Art Museum, and Dock by AnonyMouse Squeeze into Malmö’s Streets

April 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © AnonyMouse, shared with permission

The traveling collective known as AnonyMouse squeaked through Malmö’s bustling streets the last few weeks installing the latest additions to its tiniest cultural scene. After working in cities across Europe, the unidentified group visited the Swedish coast to wedge a miniature art museum, arcade, and shipping dock just big enough for a few mice into the long-established architecture. Built at street level, each minuscule creation is an elaborate and witty rendition of its human-sized counterpart: games like “Feline Fighter 2″ and “Cheese Invaders” are packed into the glowing arcade, while small boats, a cafe, and an ominous flag printed with a mouse and crossbones appear at the inland port.

AnonyMouse is currently headed to its next unannounced destination, and you can follow its latest adventures on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Skeletal Lace Patterns Define the Copper Wire Vessels of Artist Suzanne Shafer-Wilson

April 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Suzanne Shafer-Wilson, shared with permission

At once malleable in material and secure in shape, the vessels that comprise Suzanne Shafer-Wilson’s body of work are intricate studies of texture, pattern, and space. The Illinois-based artist loops and twists lengths of wire into intricate baskets that range in size from 20 inches tall to the width of a fingertip. Using a technique similar to the one employed by sculptor Ruth Asawa to create her rounded, metallic forms, Shafer-Wilson works with an Italian needle lace method designed for fibers like wool and silk. She intertwines brass, copper, or sterling silver in place of textiles and fashions porous vessels with wide, gaping bodies and elaborately constructed outer walls.

If you’re in Chicago, you can see some of Shafer-Wilson’s sculptures at Vale Craft Gallery. Otherwise, head to her site to explore an archive of her works.