Sure, we like model railways. But the way they collapse the world into an idealised and unrealistic version of reality can get a little suffocating. Which might be why we find Joshua Smith’s urban miniatures such a breath of fresh (or perhaps slightly polluted) air.
Rather than clean, idyllic worlds, the South Australian artist creates familiar street scenes filled with paste-up posters, rubbish-littered streets, and graffiti-covered roller doors.
This sense of realism seems to be influenced by his many years as a stencil artist – grime arguably comes naturally to you when your canvas is a dimly lit back street. Details gleaned from his street art days arguably add a level of realism rarely seen on such a small scale. Where else would you find a model building block with an air conditioning condenser unit blackened by fumes? Or empty coffee containers strewn across miniaturised roads? How many miniaturists do you know of make models of X-rated bookstores, abandoned workshops or dumpsters? Well you know of one now, at least.