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Ten Tiny Treasures: Artists and Their Miniatures

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Art of all kinds gives us pleasure, but when it is scaled down to miniscule sizes, it impresses us with the increased difficulty factor. Besides that, tiny artworks are more accessible and downright cute!

1. Microchip Paintings

Kansas artist Yuri Zupancic doesn't limit his work to miniatures, but his paintings on microchips make a statement of merging artistic efforts with modern technology. The painting pictured is one inch square!

2. Urban Sculptures

New York artist Alan Wolfson creates miniature scenes of complete buildings or even city blocks that evoke the feeling of their real-life inspirations, most of them without copying any actual place. The miniature pictured, Follies Burlesk, is from 1987 and was inspired by an old photograph of Times Square in the 1950s.

3. Parallel Worlds

Ji Lee is a New York artist by way of South Korea and Brazil. He created miniature rooms of furniture and installed them on ceilings for his project Parallel World. Lee's scenes include an art gallery, a tiny living room, a little office space, and one that includes R2D2 and a hippo!

4. Frida Kahlo Dollhouse

Cuban-American artist Elsa Mora created this lovely miniature dollhouse featuring artist Frida Kahlo. You can see pictures of the details, as well as a similar work called Frida Kahlo’s Studio and other dollhouse projects in her dollhouse gallery.

5. Working Weapons

French engineer and craftsman Michel Lefaivre makes working weapons in miniscule sizes. When Lefaivre retired in 2000, he combined his fascination with miniatures with his experience in the arms industry. This miniature 1916 Navy Luger is 2/5 scale and will shoot 2.7mm Kolibri cartridges, the smallest ammo available.

6. Tiny Worlds in Bottles

Tokyo artist Akinobu Izumi makes very small miniatures inside small bottles and glass domes that you can purchase at his Etsy shop. This bottle has a tiny soccer game inside, with players only 3 millimeters tall! Most of the bottled figures (dinosaurs, sea creatures, and scenes) are made of paper.

7. Riot in a Jam Jar

Jimmy Cauty is best known as a musician, formerly of KLF. He is also a multimedia artist. Last month Cauty's miniature project Riot in a Jam Jar was exhibited at L-13 Gallery in London. The works feature intricate scenes of riots, such as the Greenpeace demonstration pictured, under glass.

8. The World's Smallest Postal Service

Artist Lea Redmond creates and sells many kinds of miniatures through her workshop Leafcutter Designs. One project is the World's Smallest Post Service. This is a service that sends your letters and tiny packages to a recipient of your choice.

9. World's Smallest Aquarium

Russian miniature artist Anatoly Konenko is known for his tiny books, but he made the news this year for his extremely small working aquarium. It only holds two teaspoons of water, but Konenko has Danios fish in it. He even has a tiny air pump for the aquarium.

10. Murder Scenes

Forensic scientist Frances Glessner Lee made a series of miniature dioramas of real murder scenes in the 1930s and '40s for detectives to use in investigating those murders. The 3D models gave them a new angle, so to speak, that photographs could not. Lee's profession was police work, but her hobbies involved dolls and dollhouses. See more photographs of her work at Visible Proofs.

See also: Dungeons and Dollhouses and 8 Marvelous Miniatures

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Art
Artist Makes Colorful Prints From 1990s VHS Tapes

A collection of old VHS tapes offers endless crafting possibilities. You can use them to make bird houses, shelving units, or, if you’re London-based artist Dieter Ashton, screen prints from the physical tape itself.

As Co.Design reports, the recent London College of Communication graduate was originally intrigued by the art on the cover of old VHS and cassette tapes. He planned to digitally edit them as part of a new art project, but later realized that working with the ribbons of tape inside was much more interesting.

To make a print, Ashton unravels the film from cassettes and VHS tapes collected from his parents' home. He lets the strips fall randomly then presses them into tight, tangled arrangements with the screen. The piece is then brought to life with vibrant patterns and colors.

Ashton has started playing with ways to incorporate themes and motifs from the films he's repurposing into his artwork. If the movie behind one of his creations isn’t immediately obvious, you can always refer to its title. His pieces are named after movies like Backdraft, Under Siege, and that direct-to-video Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic Passport to Paris.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Dieter Ashton

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photography
This Is What Flowers Look Like When Photographed With an X-Ray Machine
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Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Peruvian Daffodil” (1938)

Many plant photographers choose to showcase the vibrant colors and physical details of exotic flora. For his work with flowers, Dr. Dain L. Tasker took a more bare-bones approach. The radiologist’s ghostly floral images were recorded using only an X-ray machine, according to Hyperallergic.

Tasker snapped his pictures of botanical life while he was working at Los Angeles’s Wilshire Hospital in the 1930s. He had minimal experience photographing landscapes and portraits in his spare time, but it wasn’t until he saw an X-ray of an amaryllis, taken by a colleague, that he felt inspired to swap his camera for the medical tool. He took black-and-white radiographs of everything from roses and daffodils to eucalypti and holly berries. The otherworldly artwork was featured in magazines and art shows during Tasker’s lifetime.

Selections from Tasker's body of work have been seen around the world, including as part of the Floral Studies exhibition at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in San Diego in 2016. Prints of his work are also available for purchase from the Stinehour Wemyss Editions and Howard Greenberg Gallery.

Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)

X-ray image of a rose.
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “A Rose” (1936)

All images courtesy of Joseph Bellows Gallery.

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