On his popular Instagram account, artist Chris Toledo shares ornate interiors and bathroom remodels. There is one distinct difference, however, between his handiwork and the type of thing you’d find on Pinterest. All of Toledo’s interiors are miniaturized at a 1:12 scale. If it weren’t for his hand cramming into the small spaces—or a full-sized toothbrush towering in the bathroom or a real head of garlic taking up half the kitchen—you’d never realize how tiny these places are; his details are just that impeccable.
“Since I was a kid, I loved to create,” he tells My Modern Met, “from building little houses out of sticks and pebbles in my backyard to painting portraits of my friends and family.” His father was also an influence as a contractor and a woodworker who passed down a love of furniture-making and architecture.
Toledo’s inspiration for his small sculptures came from his love of art and history. “When I first discovered miniatures,” he recalls, “it was an instant love because for the first time I had discovered an art form which encompassed every medium I have ever loved and worked with. Aside from being able to use all my favorite mediums in one form, I loved the tangibility of working with miniatures.” They also serve as another way for Toledo to immortalize historical architecture. “Miniatures give me a chance to preserve a moment from the past and allow me to hold it in my hands and see it with my own eyes.”
Though it might seem like he’d have to completely rethink how to work in such a small scale, Toledo reveals that it’s not as different as you might expect. “When it comes to creating my pieces, the process is very much like building a full-size structure (with a few ‘mini’ exceptions),” he explains. “Many of my pieces start off as simple sketches. I draw out several different floor plans to determine what will have the right flow and overall look. The scale I strictly work in is 1:12 or one-inch scale, which means one foot in normal scale translates down to one inch.” The building process is also similar to constructing something full size. “Many of the tools and materials I use are just scaled-down versions of their normal counterparts,” he says.
In addition to the technical considerations, it’s just as important to Toledo to depict how the miniatures feel when he’s done. “With all my pieces, I like to make them looked lived in and worn. To me, this truly gives the pieces a soul and that ultimate realism I strive for in all my work.”