Little People in the City: The Street Art of Slinkachu
The art maybe little but the voice is not.
The ‘Little People Project’ was started in 2006 by the London based artist Slinkachu.
It involves the remodelling and painting of miniature model train set characters, which are then placed and left on the street. It is both a street art installation project and a photography project. The street-based side of his work plays with the notion of surprise and aims to encourage city-dwellers to be more aware of their surroundings. The scenes he sets up, and the titles he gives these scenes aim to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed. But underneath this, there is always some humour. He wants people to be able to empathise with the tiny people in his works.
Mark Rothko said: ‘anyone who eats food at these prices, won’t look at my paintings.’ It was this statement which preceded him giving the money back – returning the $35,000 paycheck he received to paint four canvases which were to hang in the Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram building in Manhattan.
This moment forms the basis of John Logan’s outstanding new play, RED which opened at The Donmar Warehouse in London on Dec 2. I saw the play on New Year’s Eve, which felt like a fitting way to end the last year of the decade. “What do you see?” Rothko repeatedly asks his assistant. Indeed, what does one see? It’s a searching question as I reflect on the last decade, which has seen a full quota of red …
As Rothko said, knowing what has gone before us, what our cultural ancestors did, who they were, and what they aimed to teach us in literature, art, music, history, anthropology … gives us a presence of mind and a context to live within, to redefine ourselves by. History informs the present, and those lessons we learn from it enable us to take the next step.
I watched the London preview of The September Issue last night, R J Cutler’s documentary about the making of Vogue’s September issue. It was absolutely fascinating! Why? Because it tells two really insightful stories. One is the actual making of the magazine’s biggest annual issue, and the second, is the relationship between Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington.
I loved all the details of how the magazine issue is conceived and executed; like a book, it starts with a central idea, and then blossoms out from there, through sumptuous visual narratives. And what was very clear was that this works because of the central relationship between Wintour and Coddington, who complement one another into the perfect marriage: Wintour’s decisiveness balancing Coddington’s vision. Together, they tell the Vogue stories, and although it’s Wintour’s name over the door, it’s Coddington’s genius as a creative visionary that fuels Vogue with one story after another. Anna maybe the business brains behind Vogue, the editor who knows how to cut and cull the unnecessary from the pictures, but it’s Coddington’s soulful passion for photography that gives Wintour the canvas to cull from.
Even if you aren’t into fashion, just pick up a copy of US Vogue and sift through the pictures. Each one tells a story.
It inspired me to think about partnership and collaboration, and to ask myself: who do I want to collaborate with next and why. And I realized, if I fancy myself as a bit of a Coddington, who will be my Wintour?!
This was originally intended to be my painting blog, but now it's also about writing, what we ache for, and everything else important.
"Your paintings are like auragraphs. You pick up the information from the person and express it through art. However, they are on an altogether deeper level - not dealing with the outer projection of ourselves, not even with the spirit, but on a soul level. They are soul reflections".
Mary Clair Kelly, Cruse Counsellor