Becoming an Image is a series of performances where Heather Cassils ‘unleashes an attack on a 2000 pound (~900kg) clay block. Delivering a series of kicks and blows in total darkness, the spectacle is illuminated only by the flash of a photographer, burning the image into the viewer’s retina.’ This was first performed in the ONE Archives in Los Angeles, the oldest active LGBTQ archive in the United States, and was originally going to be a site-specific piece. Heather Cassils began to perform this around the world, including London, Montreal and Los Angeles. The only evidence of the performance is the snapshot that provide small instant amounts of illumination, and the clay block that which Heather Cassils releases all of her energy on. This clay piece is then exhibited, in its raw form, just as the artist left it when the performance was completed.
One of Antony Gormley’s most famous pieces (except the Angel of the North) has been the room full of terracotta figures, which were created with the help of school children. This, along with the rest of his artworks, are often left in a very natural form, with rough edges and joins left visible to the viewer. Much of his work at the beginning was based around the human form, and the ways in which these can be distorted, but still be recognised as a human figure. These were mainly sculptures, however Antony Gormley also explored the medium of drawing. The sculptures has been namely metal work, and also working in softer materials such as terracotta and clay. The brutality and natural breakable form of each of these materials has given each of his works a strength, such as that humans show, but a fragility, that they can be broken as easily as we can.
Kurt Moses takes fine art photographs of small figurines in our every day environment. The project of Un Petit Mode was created by himself and his wife, Edwige in 2010 in order to ‘capture a whimsical, evocative photo which indicates a storyline allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusion.’ They create all the scenes while travelling, including on beaches, New York City, Florida and even travelling to Death Valley, N.P. Husband and wife manipulate figurines in order to get them in the best position, ready for the camera. The photos are normally taken with a fish-eye lens in order to gain the largest amount of detail, background and general surroundings possible. Their work is also very weather dependent, and on their blog, mentioned that the weather has halted their progress of the shoots a few times! Their work is full of intricacy and delicacy, within the every day bustling environment in America.
Vincent Bousserez is a photographer who lives and works in Paris, photographing the Plastic Life scenarios. These began as a small entertainment, but then became prints around the galleries of Europe. The photographs of tiny people range from poetic vignettes to witty, barbed comments on human vices. They each contain small colourful plastic figures, often interacting with the human body, such as shaving, climbing, or discovering. Each photograph has a limited edition print, with many prints being sold out.
Slinkachu has travelled the world and left his mark in each place by leaving small figurines and sculptures. This all began in 2006, with the remodelling and painting of miniature model train set characters. These figures are then set in place, photographed, and left, as an installation project and photography project. On the website, it states; “The street-based side of my work plays with the notion of surprise and I aim to encourage city-dwellers to be more aware of their surroundings. The scenes I set up, more evident through photography and the titles I give these scenes, aim to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lose and overwhelmed. But underneath this, there is always some humour. I want people to be able to empathise with the tiny people in my works.” The works also often involve items that are already in the environment, such as a broken pillar, cracks in walls, bin bags and even orange peels. the comparison of these miniature figurines against the real world objects, puts into perspective how big humans are, and how small things can really be, and how easily we can miss these small things.
Matthew Albanese creates beautiful outdoor scenes, photographed from the tabletop of his studio. These landscapes can include things such as cotton wool, parsley, moss, glitter, garbage bags, and many other things that you can find in the average home. Each scene is made with extreme care and caution, and when photographed, appear realistic. Some pieces, such as the ‘Everything We Ever Were’ piece, took two months, as Matthew had to store up enough fireplace ash to create the lunar landscape. All this comes from the inspiration and fascination of film, special effects and movie magic, and especially the mechanisms behind these illusions. The ‘accidental’ beginning of the lifetime landscape project came about when, in 2008, a spilled canister of paprika inspired him to create his first mini Mars landscape.
Christopher Boffoli is a largely self-taught, fine art, commercial and editorial photographer. He began making art at an early age but only began to work with photography after receiving a camera for his birthday. His work includes editorial and documentary travel photography, but is most well known for the Big Appetites works, which features tiny figures posed against real food landscapes. These were inspired by the media that he was exposed to as a child as there were “many films and television shows that exploited both the dramatic and comedy potential of a juxtaposition of different scales: tiny-people in a normal-sized world.” Using every day objects along with every day foods, contrasting against Lilliputian dolls (sourced from Europe), he has been able to create scenes looking onto this miniature world.
William Kass is a photographer who plays with his food, to create small intricate scenes in the viewpoint of life as experienced by miniature little people. He uses small, plastic toy figures with that of food and other everyday, home items, including that of spoons, cocktail sticks and cocktail umbrellas. An orange can become a juicy, sparkling pool, chilli peppers turn into bonfires, and a zucchini becomes a cannon in a circus show. There are also scenes in which a group of men go fishing for large sashimi, an ear of corn becomes an obstacle to climb, and a bunch of green grapes are transformed into a glamorous stage for a dramatic performance. Kass uses the viewpoint from the frame of his camera in order to set up his miniature scenes, and to continue with the viewpoint of the miniature people.
Nic Joly creates small scenes using miniature figures. This began as a hobby for Nic and has turned into a passion for sculpting, whereupon he creates figuring from paper, wire and clay.
These frames allow the viewer to feel as though they are peering through the winder of a stranger’s life. The figures themselves are smaller than three centimetres, but are all individually detailed with a hint of intimacy.
Source: castlegalleries, renniesgallery, nicjoly, castlegalleries, castlegalleries, nicjoly
There are many miniature models that people own and use throughout the world, including that of miniature train sets and miniature Lego models. Since a young child, I have often played with dolls, in particular Barbies and Polly Pockets. This then transformed into that of Lego sets, where I love to create small ‘dream’ houses. I then moved onto sets such as that of the Eiffel Tower and Tower Bridge – sets that I still have to this day (one of the memories attached to this, is building it in a record time of 7.5 hours). This sparked the idea of looking at Lego sets that are particularly designed to be 1:300 scale, such as that of the Eiffel Tower, and also train sets, that use a similar scale.
One track mind: Train lover builds Britain’s largest indoor model railway which is 3,000ft long, has 28 trains and features scenes from around the world
Sources: mini-things, media-cache, moc-pages, media02, media-cache, img10.deviantart, dailymail, lego.wikia