By Lauren Hermon
It’s the little things in life that matter most to South Australian artist, Joshua Smith.
With the world literally at his fingertips, Joshua began creating miniature sculptures of urban landscapes last year.
“It’s all about having fun creating tiny things and shrinking the world down… it’s kind of cool,” he says.
Miniature art can usually be held in the palm of the hand, or covers less than 100 cm².
Joshua is one of five South Australian entrepreneurs to win Brick+Mortar‘s coworking competition where he’s continuing to build his miniature sculptures and connect with other creatives at the Norwood hub this week.
The 31-year-old Ardrossan-born artist moved to Adelaide about 10 years ago to study graphic design at the University of South Australia.
He specialised in stencil art for nearly 17 years and opened Espionage Gallery in Rundle Mall six years ago, an art gallery showcasing emerging local, interstate and international artists.
“I closed the gallery about two years ago and reached a point in my stencil work where I thought, ‘Why just make a stencil of a building? Why not make an actual small building I can hold in my hands?’ he laughs.
Joshua generally creates his sculptures using cardboard and medium density fibreboard, a product made by breaking down hard or softwood residuals into wood fibres.
“If I’m making a dumpster, for example, I use 1mm thick card which I cut components from and then glue it all together,” he says.
It may sound as simple as cutting and gluing, but the intricate details in each sculpture is what makes it realistic.
“For it to look as real as possible, I usually use a base coast of spray paint then all of the rough details are done with chalk pastels,” he explains.
“I grind up red or brown chalk and use the powder mixed with water to recreate all of the grime on the streets or rust on the buildings.”
Joshua also hand cuts and spray paints tiny stencils to create miniature graffiti pieces.
Gravitating to the aged or weathered, he takes photographs and draws inspiration from objects often overlooked on the streets.
“All of the grime, dirt, discarded cigarette butts and gum on the sidewalks are things most people would think are disgusting… to me, all of these things are beautiful as well,” he says.
“A layer of muck and grime shows age and decay. It tells more of a story about a building than a brand new one in pristine condition.”
Many of Joshua’s buildings feature completely decked out interiors, including working lights, and security alarms and sensors.
It can take him up to two days to finish smaller miniature sculptures and one week or more for larger ones like the shipping container sculpture soon be shipped to Above Second Gallery in Hong Kong.
He has also showcased his work at Westbank Gallery in London, Next Street in Paris, Urban Spree in Berlin, and Melbourne.
Joshua will also exhibit his miniature sculptures a little closer to home at DEW, a café, wine bar and photography studio on Hindley Street, from August 4 at 6pm.