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8 Marvelous Miniatures

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If you've ever owned a dollhouse, you know how fascinating tiny little recreations can be. However, the world is more than a family home! There are artists and craftspeople all over who take a slice of a different kind of life and recreate it in miniature.

1. Folsom Prison Cell

Justin Jorgensen bought this miniature recreation of a prison cell built by George Bubier, the inmate who lives there. It was made with popsicle sticks, felt, glue, and various collected materials. Inmates sell artworks through the site Prisonart.org.

2. House of Prostitution

Toronto artist Leanne Eisen creates miniature scenes you don't see in toy stores. The project called Play recreates the interior of a brothel. Pictured is the bar area, complete with stripper pole. Along the same lines, Grace Shaw received a gift of a miniature row house and made it into a seedy city block, complete with a brothel, crack house, bar, and adult book store.

3. TV Studios

Charles Brogdon (Flickr user On The Set) has created some of the most popular classic sitcoms and game show sets in miniature scale model form. The fun is going through the pictures to see if you can identify the shows without looking at the name!

4. World War II

Mark Hogancamp is the master behind an elaborate fantasy we can follow in pictures and video. After he was badly injured, he created the world he calls Marwencol in his backyard as therapy, both physical and psychological. His pictures tell a story, which, along with Mark's story, has been made into a documentary film and a book.

5. View-Master Scenes

Anyone who grew up during the heyday of the View-Master probably wondered how they made those 3D scenes. Florence Thomas was one of the artists responsible for the stereoscopic images. She would sculpt Disney characters from clay and set them in dioramas, then take photographs from two angles to get the stereo effect.

6. San Francisco

The 2nd Annual Golden Gate Express Garden Railway was recently featured at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers. The garden featured miniature versions of the city's most recognizable landmarks, buildings, and of course, a train! Plus, they are all made of recycled materials. The exhibition has closed, but the photographs give us a virtual tour. Image by Todd Lappin.

7. Miniature Apple Store

Can you believe an exact replica of an Apple store, made in a shoebox? It's from the folks who brought you the miniature personal movie theater. They used iPhones for the display screen at the Genius Bar and for the glowing Apple logo.

8. Godzilla

Just for fun, here's a Japanese photographer's home. As he is setting up a shot, along comes Godzilla! See the story told in pictures in this post.

See also: miniatures from the world of fiction and fantasy in the post Dungeons and Dollhouses.

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Ape Meets Girl
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Pop Culture
Epic Gremlins Poster Contains More Than 80 References to Classic Movies
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Ape Meets Girl

It’s easy to see why Gremlins (1984) appeals to movie nerds. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the film has horror, humor, and awesome 1980s special effects that strike a balance between campy and creepy. Perhaps it’s the movie’s status as a pop culture treasure that inspired artist Kevin Wilson to make it the center of his epic hidden-image puzzle of movie references.

According to io9, Wilson, who works under the pseudonym Ape Meets Girl, has hidden 84 nods to different movies in this Gremlins poster. The scene is taken from the movie’s opening, when Randall enters a shop in Chinatown looking for a gift for his son and leaves with a mysterious creature. Like in the film, Mr. Wing’s shop in the poster is filled with mysterious artifacts, but look closely and you’ll find some objects that look familiar. Tucked onto the bottom shelf is a Chucky doll from Child’s Play (1988); above Randall’s head is a plank of wood from the Orca ship made famous by Jaws (1975); behind Mr. Wing’s counter, which is draped with a rug from The Shining’s (1980) Overlook Hotel, is the painting of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II (1989). The poster was released by the Hero Complex Gallery at New York Comic Con earlier this month.

“Early on, myself and HCG had talked about having a few '80s Easter Eggs, but as we started making a list it got longer and longer,” Wilson told Mental Floss. “It soon expanded from '80s to any prop or McGuffin that would fit the curio shop setting. I had to stop somewhere so I stopped at 84, the year Gremlins was released. Since then I’ve thought of dozens more I wish I’d included.”

The ambitious artwork has already sold out, but fortunately cinema buffs can take as much time as they like scouring the poster from their computers. Once you think you’ve found all the references you can possibly find, you can check out Wilson’s key below to see what you missed (and yes, he already knows No. 1 should be Clash of the Titans [1981], not Jason and the Argonauts [1963]). For more pop culture-inspired art, follow Ape Meets Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Key for hidden image puzzle.
Ape Meets Girl

[h/t io9]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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presidents
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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