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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Nano Art is a Big Movement in the Art World

From sculpture to photography, miniature art is a rising trend in the art world.

In the world of art, go big or go home doesn’t always apply.

“Tiny does something to people,” explains miniature artist Jessica Hlavac.

Nano art is a rising trend in the art world, encompassing everything from sculpture to photography.

Hlavac doesn’t have a large studio or a vast collection of art supplies. Sitting at her kitchen table with a small box of clay and pastels, she intricately sculpts miniature food out of femo clay.

“It’s just this normal every day thing that becomes like magic,” explains Hlavac.

From miniature lemons to a tiny croissant sandwich to a three tiered wedding cake no bigger than two inches, despite their tiny size, the tiny morsels take hours to create.

Using simple tools like a toothbrush, X-Acto knife and basic paint brush, she molds the clay and paints it to create precise replicas. Finally baking it in a simple toaster oven.

But the hard work pays off, drawing hundreds of fans online and attention from local galleries. But even though the pictures on her website all have something to gauge the scale, people are always shocked by their actual size.

“In person it’s always like wow, that’s really small,” says Hlavac.

But it’s not just tiny food, the miniature trend is reaching all realms of the art world.

Photographer Vinny Picardi snaps photos that are so small that you need a magnifying glass to see. He sees miniature art as a way to draw in the viewer.

“The idea was to force people to interact with the art and miniatures are a great way to do that,” explains Picardi who showcased his nano photos at the Santa Monica Gallery.

Most people are used to seeing graffiti scrawled across buildings and sidewalks, but artist Dersk One has found a new medium. Taking street art to paper was a way to stand out from the crowd.

“Everyone in Los Angeles goes real big so I wanted to try and do something really small,” says Dersk One, a Los Angeles based graffiti artist.

And it may seem like small art must mean small money, but these nano artists have learned to turn their tiny creations into a profitable business.

Dersk One’s graffiti pieces are no bigger than a business card but they can sell for upwards of $200 and Picardi’s photographs, depending on the size of the canvas, can go for nearly $1000.

Hlavac though is still searching for a way to turn her tiny treats into a full on business.

“If I ever made any money from all this, it would be a dream come true,” says Hlavac with a hopeful smile.

But Hlavac says that the real payment comes from people’s reactions to her work.

“People just get really happy and to me that’s worth it.”

From street art the size of a quarter to street food that could feed a Barbie doll, miniature art allows the viewer and the artist to get creative and think inside the box, not out of it.

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