Aerial Photographer Creates A Soaring High Miniature Utopia
Ognyan Stefanov is an accomplished aviation photojournalist and graduate of the prestigious National Academy for Theater and Film Art in his native town of Sofia, Bulgaria. His award-winning aerial photographs have been featured at exhibitions and appeared in numerous global publications. Stefanov has an impressive resume of roles including official photographer for the Bulgarian Air Force and exclusive photographer to the President of Republic of Bulgaria. He has also achieved as much success with his work in miniature by winning scale modeling awards in featured competitions around the world.
Skyville is Stefanov's first, original creation and represents a utopian village in 1/87th scale measuring over 36" high (91 cm.) and 16” wide (41cm). It is a perfect and natural space, perched high in the sky, removed from the often seemed “unstable and modern crazy world" as he described in preparation for this post. Lush gardens and jeweled-toned landscapes highlight the small-scale environs presenting a community filled with homes, shops, barns and a two-story gazebo leading to a library.
Stefanov says, "I wanted to create a self-contained utopia where people have everything they need to live, surrounded by greenery and gardens and even a local inn offering traditional hospitality." Skyville is the perfect combination of cutting-edge architecture, fantasy art and futuristic design in small scale.
Large trees surround a hilly meadow which acts as the base of the structure and includes rock formations and a short footbridge over a narrow stream. A tall, winding and jagged truss extends up to the village where a number of unique structures are interconnected by a series of multi-level paths, pulleys, stairways and bridges which join the various areas together.
The village is highlighted by a large main house featuring a dramatic pitched roof with modern, sharp-edged tiles and irregularly shaped windows. Colorful flower beds with extending green vines fill window boxes to help soften the architecture while adding warmth and a sense of delight.
Additional structures necessary to sustain a traditional community are included in the village; each building and space is intricately designed to work together to carry the eye throughout the piece and provide a sense of discovery and wonder. Tall trees in large pots hang precariously throughout the piece and create an interesting design element while complementing the Stefanov’s concept of a self-contained environment.
Each figure in Skyville is placed with strategic purpose. A farmer dressed in overalls with tool box in hand appears in the meadow on the lower platform, heading to work. An elderly couple is seen enjoying afternoon tea on an outdoor balcony and a child plays on a swing in a nearby garden.
The interiors of each building are highly detailed. A bedroom features a dressed wrought iron bed, an ornate hanging chandelier and potted plants with blooming flowers. A dining room includes a large dining table topped with a checkered tablecloth set for a family’s evening meal.
Skyville was mostly scratch-built, crafted of wood stirrers and popsicle sticks, and took Mr. Stefanov more than 2 years to complete. Photo etching techniques were applied to create many of the very smaller details and parts including the furniture, railings and decorative elements.
Individually laid tiles line the pitched roof of the main structure. One extended wire secures the entire village atop the center truss which was built using elasticized adhesive allowing for some "give" while keeping the piece from crashing down. Large potted trees hang throughout the piece and create interesting design elements but also fit within the artists concept of a self contained environment.
A system of water drainage pipes meander throughout the structure, also crafted using photo etched materials, and designed using a number of weathering and aging techniques.
Stefanov hand-painted manufactured figurines and purchased landscaping materials for the perfectly staged trees, shrubberies, hedges and flowers seen throughout the piece.
Elaborate, mostly unseen, architectural and decorative elements were incorporated into the Skyville design. A sliding pine was built into one of the lower-level interior spaces seemingly just for fun. Extensive wood beamed ceilings, while virtually hidden, act as structural integrity while complementing the design. The artist built a system of jigs to help meticulously curve and form many of the rounded wooden elements ("The Round House") found in the piece including the rooms, stairways and balconies.
Skyville is clearly Stefanov’s masterful achievement of art, architecture and design in small scale and a wonderful contribution to the scale modeling and miniatures world. We look forward to seeing future work from him and future visions brought to life in his strong and optimistic way.
Skyville is available for sale, priced at €55,000. The piece measures 36" inches high, 16" inches wide and weighs 26kg (approximately 60 lbs.). It will arrive with a custom glass cover measuring 42.7 x 42.7 x 105.6 cm. along with a bound book filled with detailed photos and artist notes culled from the building process. Complementary delivery is offered to the buyer throughout Europe and additional delivery options may be discussed.
Please contact Ognyan Stefanov directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with purchase inquiries and to learn more or head over to his Facebook page dedicated to Skyville here: http://bit.ly/SKVLE You can also find and follow Mr. Stefano on Instagram @ognyan_stefanov_airphoto
*Awards & Achievements
IPMS Itali, NovoSlet Digital (Russia), IPMS Peru, IPMS Argentina, IPMS Nederland