Whether you have a long-dormant love of model railroads or can't resist dollhouses and their tiny furnishings, you're far from alone in loving miniatures. I grew up with my own dollhouse made of printed steel, but rather jealous of my cousin who had a big table in his basement devoted to his model railroad, set in a landscape he'd made and populated by exquisitely detailed buildings and street scenes.
A couple of years ago in pursuit of materials for some miniature projects (still on the drawing board) I visited, on my friend Fred's recommendation, The Credit Valley Railway Company, a truly amazing place with aisle upon aisle of trains, other vehicles, and buildings of different eras, human figures, street furniture, vegetation – even different kinds of grasses! Investigating those aisles was such an engrossing way to spend a couple of afternoons.
Plenty of artists love miniatures, miniature painting is quite a tradition, particularly in south Asia and Iran to my knowledge, but some artists either create dimensional miniatures or use the kind I drooled over at the store as their raw material.
Sculptor Kim Adams, 2014 winner of a Governor General's Award in Visual Art (click to view his award page), is one such artist whose work I particularly admire. His elaborate installations a few years ago at the Art Gallery of Ontario (click to view a slideshow from that work) were fascinating.
What got me thinking about this topic recently was an article in The Guardian about sculptor/miniature artist Randy Hage who has done a whole series in which he has re-created old New York City storefronts with amazing detail, right down to the litter, the papered-over windows and the inevitable graffiti.
On his site (click to link to it) you can see side-by-side comparison photos of the shot he took of the actual storefront and his 1/12 scale miniature. Beautiful work! Below is a time-lapse as he makes one storefront “Ideal Hosiery”.
Finally there's an epic miniature museum project in Mississauga/Oakville called Our Home & Miniature Land where they are painstakingly re-creating Canada in miniature, starting with Toronto and Hamilton. Click here or on their name to check out their site. The project is not complete yet, though they have had a public open house, but the videos of their progress are amazing! Below are a couple of samples to whet your appetite. I can't wait to see it all in person!
How about you? Are you a miniatures geek whether secretly or proudly? Did you have a dollhouse or model railroad when you were growing up, or make other kinds of models?
If so, please tell me about them in the comments below!
As a visual artist I like nothing more than getting up to my elbows in paint or little plastic toys, or wading in at the deep end in pursuit of an idea. When I am not teaching others in a similar vein, you can find me researching, writing and noodling around in my studio, seeing where my latest lines of inquiry lead me.
All images and content on this website © Kim-Lee Kho 2005–2018 except as indicated. All rights reserved. No reproduction without express, written permission.