I feel inspired when I see artists making miniature and/or analog versions of real life or real objects, like the paper worlds of Tae Won Yu, and Kelli Anderson’s Re-imagined paper book covers. I’ve thought it would be fun to work this way for a project, and recently had the opportunity to do that for a friend’s band. He was looking for art for their latest album, and sent me the following image to demonstrate what they had in mind, also noting the album centers around themes of “music, nostalgia, and commerce”:
Originally the thought was to outfit and style a dress form in a storefront, but the storefront the band had access to fell through. Hmm, I thought. Maybe this would be a good time to try out that miniature thing.
So I set out to build a miniature storefront. My research took me to places like Dawn’s Designer Doll House, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, George the Mini Guy, images of dingy storefronts, and this series of miniature New York storefronts. I started with the dress form, which is about 4 inches tall, and built everything else to scale (as best I could) around that.
I experimented with a lot of things, but in the end, the storefront was built out of a cereal box and covered in felt bricks. The dress form is for the 1970s Dawn doll, from eBay. I sewed her outfit from scratch (TINY PLEATS), and with the help of this miniature sneakers tutorial, made the shoes out of Sculpey clay. The pedestal the shoes are displayed on is a kid’s toy block my sister left in the drawer of a desk she gave me, that I painted white with Wite-Out. The cheerleader’s pom-poms were made with embroidery thread with this “wrap around a fork” technique. “The He/Bops” lettering was cut out of paper and hung with thread, and the rest of the lettering is painted alphabet pasta. With this project I hand-cut plexiglass for the first time. If I didn’t already have the materials (I have a pretty good craft stash), I got it from Arts & Scraps. They have a wonderful, weird, and diverse collection of recycled industrial materials and general secondhand stuff. For example, the vinyl door samples they had came in handy when I needed “wood.”
The project was fun, sometimes intimidating. It required different skills and thinking than a design project based on drawing, or something born digital. I wanted everything to look as good as it could in reality, so I wouldn’t have to fudge a lot of stuff in Photoshop.
Here’s the final artwork (front and back covers):