matthew albanese crafts a moving miniature landscape using humble household materials

matthew albanese crafts a moving miniature landscape using humble household materials

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’


‘my dream your nightmare’, 2013

‘burning room’

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