Real World Counterparts Replaced by Cheap Souvenirs

A friend showed me this set of images by Michael Hughes who uses forced perspective photography to put a twist on tourist attractions. Michael utilizes miniature souvenirs while superimposing them into the real world with his camera.

Images from here


Final designs

This is the final set of images that demonstrate the shape and form of the street and our urban surroundings at a minimal level. I’ve managed to show a stripped down version of the street by creating a wire frame like structure as the basis, and the addition of the Lego object suggests that the street, the buildings, the infrastructure and the objects  can all be brought back down to basics, the Lego brick represents the building blocks of the form and shapes that create the streets that we walk through in our everyday lives.

Shape, form and line in the streets

What am I doing?

I am going to use the Lego as a simplistic medium to show the basic shape, line, and form of the streets. I aim to show how the streets are made up of simple shapes and structures to form what we live in using minimalism as my approach.

I chose these images from my selection to transform as I felt these best showed the basic shape and form of the streets, I also chose this selection for the variety of objects, structures, and shapes presented, allowing for me to better show and explain the idea of shape, form and line in the streets.

I created these images by inserting each photograph into Adobe Illustrator, I then went round all the dominant shapes of the image using the pen tool to create lines. The end result of this process is a series of these images minimalistic styled illustrations.

Form – is an element of art. At its most basic, a form is a three-dimensional geometrical figure (i.e.: sphere, cube, cylinder, cone, etc.), as opposed to a shape, which is two-dimensional, or flat.

In a broader sense, form, in art, means the whole of a piece’s visible elements and the way those elements are united. In this context, form allows us as viewers to mentally capture the work and understand it.

Shape – the quality of a distinct object or body in having an external surface or outline of specific form or figure.

Shape pertains to the use of areas in two dimensional space that can be defined by edges, setting one flat specific space apart from another. Shapes can be geometric or organic, I will be concentrating on geometric shapes as the urban surfaces, structures and features are what I will be looking at. Shapes are defined by other elements of art: Space, Line, Texture, Value, Color, Form.

Line – a mark or stroke long in proportion to its breadth, made with a pen, pencil, tool, etc., on a surface: a line down the middle of the page.

Line is perhaps the most basic element of drawing. I aim to achieve a simplistic view of the streets to demonstrate that our urban environment is made simple.

Inspiration and influences

  1. Rachel Whiteread – her works are one of the influences that pushed me toward looking at shape as she demonstrates shape and space is an different way in her work, One Hundred Spaces in particular made me push the Lego idea forward.
  2. Clair Rollet – during one of my group tutorials I was recommended by my tutor to look at Claire Rollet’s illustration, based on my pixel experiment. Her designs are the main influence on my own work for this, this is clearly evident but in a digital medium.
  3. Forced perspective photography – whilst focusing on photography and anamorphosis, I was intrigued by the use of forced perspective and how it was implemented to make normal mundane things seem exciting and unreal. I wanted to some how use the technique in my own work, and have successfully done so with Lego and an urban environment.
  4. Aakash Nihalani – his work uses a combination of anamorphosis, line, and shape to create his unique pieces, this use of line and shape led me to further interest on the topics. His use of tape to outline urban surfaces influenced me to take the route of outlinining surfaces also, but in my case I have done this digitally.
  5. Brian Lowell – his Lego Realism creations inspired me to create my very own lego realistic creations, but to make them relevant to my subject matter. He created food and objects purely out of lego, I created urban subjects and implemented them into the real streets.
  6. Megx – his giant Lego bridge creation inspired me to further carry out my Lego idea, this is also what made me choose a bridge in my photography work.
  7. Pablo Picasso – I saw Picasso’s lithograph series Bull in a restaurant one night, I then searched for it online to find it was demonstrating minimalism by dissecting an image of a bull to discover the essential presence through a progressive analysis of its form. I saw this piece and linked it to Claire Rollet’s illustrations which are simple and minimal in the sense her work primarily uses lines, so this piece inspired me to create my basic shape city illustrations.

Image from here

Edited Lego photographs

I felt that that photos I had taken of each subject and their Lego counterpart needed to be merged together into one to clearly show what was going on, so I did so using Adobe Photoshop. I simply cut out the hand and Lego in the image focusing on this, then feathered and smoothed the edges and inserted this on top of the photograph focusing on the subject on the street. I purposely left the hand in the photographs as it implies context to the image, by leaving the hand in the viewer can clearly see that the Lego object isn’t superimposed into the image and allows for a true sense of scale. The close up Lego is meant to be the simplified version of what it is covering, showing the basic shape and form of the subject, this is what I am trying to show.

Lego photography

Based on my original idea I created a collection of structures and objects out of Lego pieces and went out onto the streets to photograph them in an urban setting. I created the majority of the Lego things from the list I conjured in the first Lego post, but some were created during the Lego creation process as I was making them.

These are the photographs I took while in Huddersfield city centre:

Lego New York

I found these digitally rendered Lego blocks by JR Schmidt creating New York City and really liked the way they showed the Geography of the city.

Images from here

Miniature Lego realism

Brian Lowell is the creator of these miniature Lego realism sculptures, who frequently models his miniature creations off actual household objects and foods. Every little piece of these is made up from Lego bricks.

Images from here

Lego in the real world

This giant Lego bridge in Germany has been created by street artist Megx. He converted the bridge into a giant Lego structure using coloured panels that create the illusion of being the underside of Lego bricks.

Images from here

Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread is an English sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker, known best for her sculptures and installations. Whiteread has created major public works in both Europe and the United States. Many of Whiteread’s pieces are of the negative spaces of everyday domestic objects, mainly focusing on the line and form of her pieces.

Images from here, herehere and here

One Hundred Spaces (1997)

One Hundred Spaces is a series of resin casts of the space underneath chairs.

One Hundred Spaces

Embankment (2005-2006)

Embankment consists of 14,000 translucent, white polyethylene boxes (which are casts of the inside of cardboard boxes) stacked in different ways; some lower, rectangular, more levelled arrangements and others in very tall mountain-like peaks. They have been fixed in position with adhesive.

Rachel Whiteread EMBANKMENT 2

Rachel Whiteread EMBANKMENT 4

Rachel Whiteread EMBANKMENT 3