Is This The Best We Can Do?
One idea our Un Petit Monde project attempts to convey is: No matter how small we may feel and how overwhelming a situation may seem, there is always a way to persevere. At times, I want the miniature figures in our scenes to appear as if they are calm and unfazed by the colossal situations they face.
Many years ago I saw the film "All The Presidents Men”. Afterwards I remember feeling energized and hopeful that it was possible to pursue the truth and get some semblance of justice in our country. I also remember feeling that if I had been mature enough to follow the situation more closely, I would have been outspoken about the moral crisis we faced as a nation. Well, here we are in 2018 and it has gone beyond what I thought was the culminating point of corruption in our government.
And what am I going to do about it? Outside of one-on-one conversations with the people we meet, I’m making art that conveys my thoughts and beliefs. To be clear, I do NOT support or condone lies, iniquity, nepotism, debauchery, intimidation and corruption. As our friends know, I have a strong faith in God, uphold truth and place people above money. This comes to mind about our current leadership and social discourse “A man is known by his actions. An evil man lives an evil life; a good man lives a godly life.” (Proverbs 21:8). I also have a sense of humor and appreciate satire and irony so I hope you enjoy some of my more socially relevant photographs like the one below.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. (Edmund Burke)
The Opening Event at Tettegouche
Thank you for coming out to our opening event! It was a fun night and it went way too fast for Kurt and I, we enjoyed our time so much :)
For those of you who were unable to come, we missed you! Here is a brief summary, sorry we were not able to take photos as we had planned (we were talking too much :)
In our opinion, there are a couple things that helped make the event stand out:
1- having a talented group of musicians (brothers Tyler, Curtis and Kyle) play acoustic guitar and sing throughout the event. It was a treat to have them there!
2- serving milk and cookies which was very appropriate for the subject matter (photographing toys) . The cookies came from a bakery in Duluth ( Positively 3rd Street Bakery).
We had some books and postcards for sale and spent our time meeting our guests and interacting with them.
For the event, Kurt and I put together a short video "Making Of Un Petit Monde" that was projected on a screen in an adjacent room. You can view it by clicking on the image below.
The Artwork is Up
Sunday morning was hanging day for us! The 19 pieces are up in the visitor center of Tettegouche State Park. Kurt put together a tiny artist statement to accompany the artwork. He used a couple barn wood frames to create a shadow box and added a few HO scale figures to convey the size of the figurines used in the artwork.
While hanging the artwork, a few visitors inquired about the photographs and Kurt shared stories and techniques. Kurt Mead - who has been our point person at Tettegouche State Park and is in charge of the monthly art exhibits - was very gracious to give us a few hours of his time to help us hang the work.
We are very excited for the opening event on Friday, July 6th from 7pm to 8:30pm!
Kurt and I are excited to exhibit our artwork at Tettegouche State Park along the North Shore of Minnesota!
The artwork will be displayed during the month of July in the Great Hall of the visitor center and will be accessible to the public daily, from 7am to 7pm.
Our opening event is Friday, July 6th from 7pm to 8:30pm, hope to see you there!
We are celebrating our 50th day at Death Valley Junction with a little slideshow of the town. Due to unforeseen circumstances our 3-day visit has turned into a 50 + day stay! We'll keep you posted :)
Death Valley Junction Postcards
Death Valley Junction - Part 2
Kurt and I are still hanging out at the junction. The main attraction of the ghost town is the Amargosa Opera House where Marta performed ballet and pantomime for over 40 years. To honor her legacy, Kurt photographed a miniature ballerina dancing on the stage of the Opera House.
The miniature ballet dancer was put together using the legs of an HO scale swimmer and the body and arms of a ballerina.
Based off pictures of Marta performing, Kurt modeled an HO scale classic ballet two-piece outfit slightly larger than a pencil eraser. The weave of the traditional materials like satin and chiffon was too thick to create the tiny tutu so Kurt created the shape out of floral foam wrapped in a thin layer of plastic film. The plastic film mimicked the folds of real fabric. The skirt was painted off-white to match one of Marta's costumes.
Death Valley Junction - Part 1
Kurt and I took a hiatus from our New Mexico travels to go celebrate our friend's birthday in Death Valley Junction, California. We discovered this ghost town a couple years ago and heard about the fascinating story of artist Marta Becket and the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House. The town has a population of 3, Kurt and I are sticking around for a few days to create a series of images revolving around life in DVJ.
City of Rocks
Kurt and I left Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus and drove 60 miles north to City of Rocks State Park. It's a very photogenic place that got its name from the street-like paths between the towering rock formations.
We were looking forward to being at the park when it was a full moon so we could try and photograph a UFO flying over the rock formations at night. Unfortunately, it was a windy week which made it impossible to do long exposures of the flying saucer.
The rugged landscape was appropriate for a Godzilla scene so Kurt had an HO scale army tank try to take down Godzilla. The scene turned out pretty well!
While camping in City of Rocks, Kurt also worked on modifying a mini exploration vehicle. He added a couple scientists inside the cockpit, placed a spot light and a radio antenna on the roof and replaced the 2D painted ladder with a real miniature one.
We brought the mini exploration vehicle on our hike, hoping to capture a scene. The first few locations we stopped at did not work, the shapes in the background were distracting and the lighting was uneven. Finally, towards the end of the day, all things came together to create a keeper.
Ever since we first visited Southern California in 2014, Kurt has had in mind to photograph miniature border agents patrolling the wall built between the U.S and Mexico. Back then he created a set of border patrol agents and purchased a couple HO scale border patrol vehicles. We have been traveling with the figures ever since.
Finally, our opportunity came a few days ago while camping at Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, three miles from the Mexican border. On our first visit to the border, we walked over to the wall and set up our scene on the dirt road along the wall. There, we came across a border patrol agent who was patrolling the road. We had a great, long conversation with him and heard safety tips and stories about his career as an officer. In regards to our photo project, he told us where it was OK for us to be and where we shouldn't go.
One night from our campsite, Kurt and I noticed a row of bright lights outlining the border. That's when Kurt decided to add a night scene to his border patrol Series.
In Columbus, it is very common to see border patrol vehicles driving through daily, they patrol for drug smuggling and illegal immigrants.