sand, paper, salt, spice, glass, plastic, ash, earth — you name it, and chances are new jersey based artist matthew albanese has used it in one of his miniature landscapes. stunningly lifelike and mind blowing-ly intricate, albanese’s dioramas of caves, valleys, oceans and homes are almost impossibly true to life, with only close inspection offering up any indication that the whole scene is a model. 


all images © matthew albanese, courtesy of the artist
‘the tree in my backyard #3’, 2017

 

 

matthew albanese’s ingenious use of materials, perspective and light lends itself to the creation of images and landscapes that are both instantly recognisable and completely otherworldly in their presentation. bolstered by the knowledge that each scene is meticulously constructed using (mostly) household products, one can’t help but stare in amazement at the craftsmanship evident in each piece. albanese’s most recent work, ‘the north jersey din’ is the artist’s first attempt at making a fully moving miniature. 


‘the tree in my backyard #4’, 2017

 

 

‘initially I was doing product photography for an online website,’ explains albanese. ‘I was working on tabletop in a very small, confined space. eventually I became interested in experimenting with different objects, and materials and playing with shadow. one day I spilled paprika in my studio, and I was very interested in the colors and the textures and I thought that it could be used as something other than what it was. I figured I would set out to create the surface of mars.’


‘the tree in my backyard #2’, 2017

 

 

each of albanese’s creations is loaded with imagination, his choice of subject realized with a dreamlike sense of intrigue. roaring oceans, bioluminescent forests, exploding volcanos, blazing wildfires: each setup seems to have been plucked from the pages of a child’s adventure novel. drenched in atmosphere, ambience and mise en scène, albanese’s creations give the impression of a moment suspended in time, ready at any second to launch back into frenetic action. ‘I use a lot of cotton, cooked sugar, steel wool, different types of glass, textiles…it’s really endless what I can use. I’ll use anything.’ 


‘a new life #1’, 

 

 

for ‘the north jersey din’, the artist designed each element with movement in mind. the tree, rendered from brass tubes, is soldered together with a spring at every joint. each individual leaf is die punched and machine cut, and threaded one by one to the branches of the tree. recorded on an iphone set to slow motion at 240fps, the video also features an audio backtrack captured in the artist’s own backyard: the sounds of the typical north jersey din. 


‘after the storm’


‘wildfire’


‘my dream your nightmare’, 2013


‘burning room’

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    art news