Finding the humor in everyday office struggles, Derrick Lin started creating miniature vignettes as a way to visually express his frustrations. Using everyday materials, he shoots everything with his iPhone and publishes these relatable scenes to Instagram. Now, a good portion of his work has been put together in his forthcoming book, Work, Figuratively Speaking.
Lin's work follows the grand tradition of artists who work in miniature, but rather than focusing on relationships or political struggles, he decided to hone in on the place where many of us spend the majority of our time—the office. “About 3 years ago, I noticed that while we are in the era of social media where almost anything can be shared, people generally avoid sharing their complaints about work,” Lin shares. “We spend a good chunk of our time at our job, and naturally we have a lot of frustration from various sources.”
From a version of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks made with pencils to someone—literally—getting “thrown under the bus,” Lin cleverly uses miniature figures and some office supplies to represent the struggles and victories of the workplace. Lin works in advertising, so it was a natural fit for him to slide into this visual field, injecting humor into sometimes difficult situations. The artist also finds the lighter side of life, reminding us to slow down and relax with his scenes of a figure jet skiing along a sheet of paper or enjoying an evening picnic with friends. “My series is a constant reminder for me to always look on the brighter side of things and seek humor out of the little setbacks and obstacles I encounter,” Lin says.
Derrick Lin's book Work, Figuratively Speaking: The Big and Little Victories of Office Life, published by Rizzoli, is now available for pre-order.