For an upcoming exhibition at Palo Alto Art Center, self-taught miniaturist Joshua Smith has once again created a scale model that is a slice of urban life. Following his recent venture into the architecture of Taiwan, Smith has jumped across the ocean, this time tackling elements of San Francisco.
The centerpiece of the show is the legendary Discolandia Record Store in San Francisco’s Mission District. Known for catering to Latin music aficionados, the record store closed its doors in 2011 after almost 30 years in business when the owner decided to retire. Smith touches on this piece of Mission District history, perfectly capturing the nostalgia of a musical paradise now abandoned. From the slightly tilted signage to the signature orange paint, he’s able to pay homage to what was and what is now the reality.
Smith rounds out his contribution with a Golden Gate dumpster, complete with graffiti tags and a street art poster. Perched next to a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, tiny cigarettes scattered on the ground, there’s no detail overlooked by Smith. And in fact, this aspect is part of what drives Smith’s work. “I love a challenge and the problem-solving skills that come with trying to figure out how to get miniatures to look realistic,” he revealed. His dedication to realism and ability to pull beauty out of the most unexpected places is part of what makes him one of our favorite miniaturists.
Through That Which is Seen runs from January 20, 2018 to April 8, 2018.