Written by Michael Ashman
Mini billboards, trucks, mailboxes, dumpsters and trash cans fill an entire wall, creating a city diorama. This is the scene at Thumbprint Gallery’s current exhibition titled “Deconstruction of Art” which was guest curated by Suicidal Octopuss. Miniaturized versions of street artists’ favorite painting surfaces can be found on display at Thumbprint Gallery. From graffiti to street art, these miniatures encompass a wide variety of techniques and styles. These scale models give the artists a way to replicate what they would do in the street, except in a gallery space.
Shrinking down heavy box trucks, smelly dumpsters, and huge billboards gives many advantages for the artists. One advantage is not dealing with smelly dumpsters. Other advantages of having miniature replicas are being able to plan the work without going out to the spot itself, and having control over the object without the trouble of getting caught for vandalism. However, the audience shrinks from a broad public view to a more specific one for artists’ local friends and art community. But, the best advantage is having a collection of different artists’ work shown together without people having to go around to find them individually, and it is a great way to discuss the art in one place.
More than a dozen, blank, toy replicas are transformed into eye-catching artworks full of neon colors, graffiti lettering, and cartoonish monsters. Looking at the wall of miniatures, the eye darts back and forth between the many details, which are painted, drawn and stuck onto the toys. For example, miniature trashcans by RenOneLab looks worn out with many small stickers and graffiti littered around all its sides. In contrast, miniature trashcans painted by HeyYoMike showcases some of his hand-drawn art. These two sets of cans are completely different in appearance, and they highlight only a portion of other styles by the Suicidal Octopuss artists. Alongside some of the minis are painted spray cans, a painted portable TV and a mini-boombox, which all fit into the urban art theme. The spray cans are tall giants compared to the mini-toys. With more than two dozen mini-artworks, it would take a long time to describe the amount of creative work put into each one.
The authenticity of these mini replicas can be seen in the small details these artists put into there work. For example, a mini-mail dropbox painted by Therst has replicated small rust spots and faded stickers around this dilapidated mailbox. Another example is a mini-billboard by We Are Zombies. The artist includes mini-spray cans along the scaffold in front of the billboard collage of zombie posters. Even the display shelves themselves are covered in urban art stickers by the artists with spray paint splashed on for good measure.
These miniatures are unique canvases when juxtaposed with the other art found at Thumbprint Gallery’s current show. On one side of the gallery, the conglomeration of mini-toy trucks, billboards and mailboxes covered in graffiti looks like a street art explosion. On the other side, prints, paintings and drawings sit in framed canvases flush against the wall. In a way, it is like toy store meets art gallery. The mix of the two types of art goes well with each other, and the transition between the two is aided by art-on-canvas backdrops for some of the small-sized billboards. There are no limitations to what artists can choose to paint on. The scale model dumpsters, billboards and trucks add new interesting and creative tools for street and urban artists.
See the miniature artistic toys and other works from the Suicidal Octopuss collection at Thumprint Gallery. The gallery is open to the public Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The show “Deconstruction of Art” will be exhibited until Sunday, October 6.