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TexasDude's avatar

Has any artist modeled their dreams in miniature before?

Asked by TexasDude (25184 points ) November 26th, 2010

I was recently checking out the work of photographer Lori Nix when I was bonked on the noggin by a flash of inspiration. I used to be a hardcore model railroader (which I’ve been dying to get back into) and I’ve also always been a lucid dreamer, forcing myself to take extremely detailed notes of the contents and scenery of my dreams. After looking at Ms. Nix’s work, I realized that I should try and model some of the more memorable scenes from my dreams in the form of scale dioramas and then photograph and post-process them. I’ve already finished and photographed one scene, and started building a second, but I’m now finding myself wondering if anyone has ever done this before. I’m not worried about plagiarizing… many photographic artists have photographed miniature worlds before. What I am wondering is if anyone has ever done exactly what I am doing: explicitly interpreting their own dreams using three-dimensional mediums and photography? I sort of doubt that anyone has, but it would be neat to know. Help me out, Jellies!

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18 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

That is interesting.Of the artists I know,none have ever told me that their dreams inspired any artwork,although it wouldn’t suprise me if they did.
As for myself,I have never painted or modelled any of my dreams.Seeing John Goodman’s naked arse once was enough for me ;)

Seelix's avatar

I don’t know whether anyone has done what you’re doing, but that is a lovely photo.

TexasDude's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille, haha… Tons of artists are inspired by their dreams… Dali’, Magritte, etc… What I’m looking for is an artist who has basically made their dreams really come to life. You know how hard it is to vocally explain a dream to someone? It’s hard to draw pictures too… I figured that building a diorama would be the most effective way to express just what my subconscious mind produces. And I’m curious if any established artists have done this before.

@Seelix, thank you!

syz's avatar

What a fascinating idea. Sadly, I rarely remember my dreams. Except for a recurrent nightmare that I had dozens, if not hundreds of times when I was a kid. I wonder if it would be therapeutic to try to recreate it?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard -I do think it would be easier to understand a visual.More interesting to me,anyway.

TexasDude's avatar

@syz, I think it would. I rarely have nightmares, but I think I might recreate one or two for this project. You should try it, I’d love to see it.

@lucillelucillelucille, I agree. I think the fact that I’m using miniatures adds to the dreamy quality. They are somewhat realistic, but just “off” enough to feel dream-like and surreal.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard -Are you going to make any objects yourself? If so,what material will you use?

Cruiser's avatar

I had a recurring dream visual I have drawn hundreds of times since I was 7 and am frustrated by my lack of talent to make a good rendition of it. Some day I will take a drawing class so can do justice to this image! It is of a stone bridge with mountains in the background that would make for a great model railroad setting.

TexasDude's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille, I made the building and the scenery in the image I linked to in the question. The building is painted cardstock and most of the scenery is ground foam most commonly used in model railroading. Everything is built on a foam board foundation that I painted myself. This will probably be how I do most of the dioramas. I’m using gloss medium and lacquer to simulate water in the next diorama I’m building, and I’ll probably build a few buildings from scratch. Here is a shot of what the scene looks like from above.

@Cruiser, I had a similar frustration which led me to pursue this project. I love to draw and paint, but I’m not talented enough to accurately portray my dreams as I would like to. I’m a decent modeler and photographer, though, so I figured I’d take that route. Have you thought about using a different method to capture the image you are trying to convey?

Kardamom's avatar

I made something recently for my 5 year old nephew that was a commemoration of his first camping trip. My Dad who is 85 went with me and my brother and my nephew on a camping trip this summer. My brother wanted my Dad to have the experience of camping with his grandson (there’s an 80 year age difference). So we camped at the same exact campground where my Dad took both me and my brother when we each turned 5 (over 40 years ago). It was an amazing trip, filled with nostalgia and the making of new memories.

While we were on the trip, I picked up this beautiful piece of bark that was laying on the ground. When I got home, I decided to make a diorama to commemorate our trip. We slept in a dome tent, so I got a wooden egg from the crafts store, cut the top off of it and painted it to look like a dome tent (it was the only thing I could find that had the right shape) and glued it onto the bark, then I got one of those little fake Xmas trees and stuck that on there, then I got some blue glitter glue and made the lake and then I cut and painted a forest service sign out of a piece of thin balsa wood onto which I painted the name of our campground.

It turned out really cute, my Dad helped me put it all together so the pieces would stay on it. My brother actually wept when he saw it. Hopefully my nephew will appreciate it when he grows up and has this shared memory with us.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard -That looks like alot of fun! I know I would do some things in clay :))

TexasDude's avatar

@Kardamom, that’s pretty cool! Do you happen to have any pics?

@lucillelucillelucille, what’s stopping you? Do it! :-D

Kardamom's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard you know I don’t have any pictures. I suppose I should take a picture of it next time I go over to their house. The piece of bark which was Jefferies pine bark like this was about 8 inches long and 5 inches wide, kind of randomly oblong. The “dome tent” was about 3 inches wide at the base (we stuck a nail into the bottom of the tent so it would be more stable, we stuck the other end of the nail down into the bark, which was about 4 inches thick, plus we put glue on the bottom of the tent) The tree was about 5 inches tall and since it had a wire “trunk” I was able to drill a little tiny hole in the bark, that was just slightly smaller in diameter than the trunk then I stuck the tree into the hole with a compression fit (you can also take it out, so it’s easier to move it or pack it, which I did) then the little camp ground sign is about 3 inches by 3 inches and looks similar to this The sign was the hardest part because I had to paint the lettering free-handed in very tiny letters, but it came out great. I cut the bottom of the sign so it had a wide “stem” on the bottom and we sliced a little crevice in the bark so the stem could be glued into the crevice and only the shape of the sign, like in this photo, can be seen. The lake was the easiest part, because there are lots of dips and crevices in the bark, so I picked the best section and just used glitter glue to make the shape, then I filled it in (had to use 2 layers, because it settled when it dried, but it looked really nice) Oh and I forgot to mention that I used a thick metal washer that I colored black with a sharpie pen to mimick the black metal fire ring in the campground. Then I cut a little tiny flame shaped piece of the thin balsa wood and painted that with orange glitter glue and glued it into the fire ring.

Cruiser's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard My dad and I did build a HO modle railroad and he taught me a lot in how to work with plaster. He is a very accomplished water colorist and since I mfr sculpting epoxy I just might have to use some goo and make a plastic rendition of this dream!! Great suggestion!

TexasDude's avatar

@Kardamom, that’s absolutely awesome. I love how you did the sign… I’m going to have to incorporate a similar technique in my work. Thanks for sharing!

@Cruiser, I’ve worked in both HO and N scale, and I’m using elements of both in my designs. Get on that, man! And be sure and post pics!

anartist's avatar

fascinating! keep at it! That building is very eerie.
I’ve seen movies of dreams, and I have often wanted to visualize my dreams.
I did one, of flying, but I don’t have that print any more.

TexasDude's avatar

@anartist, thanks! That’s what I was shooting for… the building was extremely creepy in my dreams I’ve had of it. In one of my dreams, I even went inside and saw the big window from the inside out… it was filled with huge dirt piles, rusty metal pieces, and fallen beams- I may try and model that scene eventually. I wish you had the print, still, because I’d love to see it!

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