Extreme Miniaturists

When we think of miniatures, we usually think of dollhouses, right? While dollhouses are an elemental part the world of miniatures, miniatures are definitely not confined to this genre of the craft. From tiny musical instruments, to miniature food, and petite gardening, the world of miniatures has really expanded to encompass a number of unique categories since its creation.

On the front lines of this change are a distinct group of "extreme miniaturists" who are pushing the bounds of miniaturism as an art form—using the creative process to create high quality artisan pieces. Most of these artists incorporate the technique of hyperrealism into their work—creating minature scenes that are as realistic as possible, down to the tiniest detail.

A number of these artists concentrate on creating scenes that evoke narrative—they strive to make viewers of their work imagine the story behind the scenes that they create. Sometimes these detailed, realistic scenes reference historical events, or aim to bring attention to larger issues in society.

Charles Matton in the studio

The first hyperrealistic miatures were created around the mid 20th century. The first, and possibly most widely known artist of this genre is the late Charles Matton. Amongst a number of artistic ventures, Matton was known for creating hyperrealistic roomboxes, which can be found in museums and galleries around the world.

Renowned miniaturist Jim Sevellec was also known for creating a number of highly detrailed, extremely realistic roombox scenes, including a series depicting historical scenes of daily life in the city of Brest, France for the city museum.

Sevellec scene depicting life in Brest during WWII

Lori Nix, perhaps the most noted extreme miniaturist of current times, builds on this tradition of the hyperrealistic miniature scene. Nix is known for combining fine, realistic details with elements of surrealism to create unique apocalyptic "diaoramas of decay". Her most recent series, The City, depicts the aftermath of an apocalyptic event in the city of New York.

Grand Central in decay by Lori Nix (From: The City)

Joe Fig, another artist of note, makes highly detailed miniature “tabletop” sculptures. Many of his sculptures replicate scenes from around his art studio—photographs of these scenes can be found in his books, Inside the Painter’s Studio and Inside the Artist’s Studio.

Joe Fig painter's studio tabletop sculpture

It is clear that hyperrealistc miniatures are becoming an increasingly prominent sector of the miniatures world. While the artists listed here are some of the more established of the field, there are a large number of up and coming hyperrealist miniature artisans who’s work can be found on social media sites, such Pinterest and Instagram, or in small galleries. Keep an eye out, as we are sure to see more and more of artists popping up the coming years.

(Photo Credits: Pinterest, Wikipedia, Lori Nix, Joe Fig, Cote Brest)

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