New York can be a big and lonely place, so sculptor Alan Wolfson has shrunk it down to size. Way down.
His insanely detailed miniature dioramas of grimy New York scenes are so realistic, it almost hurts the brain to look at them (but you must, below).
A Brooklyn native, Wolfson says that his tiny works are not just lonely tableaus but stories in themselves. "To me, the most important experience you take away from my work is the story," he explains on his website.
I'm providing you with clues to a narrative, telling a story with minute details. There are no people in these scenes, but so much of what is there are the things people have left behind -- the graffiti, the trash, tips on a counter, a half-eaten hamburger. The real impact of my work is not in how small everything is but in the stories these small things tell.
Often Wolfson will work on a piece for months at a time, obsessing over the details, many of which are a combination of memory and fantasy -- and he insists on making everything in the piece, mostly out of plastic and cardboard. His talent for the mini-form stems from his earlier trades as a model builder for Disney Imagineering, a shipboard engineer for the Navy, and a student of lighting design.
The pieces have a quiet, haunting feeling to them, and peering into these tiny dollhouses feels almost voyeuristic. But they do maintain a look of the city that has since been wiped away.
I do feel a certain impulse to preserve some of our architectural past. I find it offensive that there is little or no effort whatsoever to do that. So many great old buildings have been bulldozed to make parking lots. It's unforgivable.
Wolfson's piece, “Canal St. Cross-Section” will appear at the the Museum Of Arts And Design's 40-artist exhibit "OTHERWORLDLY: Optical Delusions and Small Realities" from June 7-September 18th.
Check out Wolfson's website for more amazing photos.