Artist Uses Miniature Railway Figures to Create Realistic Images


Miniature railway figures were used to create surreal imagery inspired by the dream of sunny vacations in these stunning shots.

David Gilliver, 42, from North Lanarkshire, Scotland, has used his pioneering art form to work for commercial campaigns such as 3, Sony and Adobe – but his main passion is creating his own images using ‘accessories.

He collects miniature railway figures from as far away as Japan and Singapore and sends them to an artist to be painted to his own specifications.

They are then posed with other props, including shortbread cookies to create a version of Stonehenge, and a plastic avocado to look like a tanning bed, and photographed.

David Gilliver collects miniature railway figures from as far away as Japan and Singapore and sends them to an artist to be painted to his own specifications.
David Gilliver/Zenger

Gilliver, who studied at the Glasgow School of Art, said the technique was copied by others trying to emulate his unique view of modern life, and prints were sold to John Lewis.

He often uses fruit to create a landscape, including halved oranges and grapes, which look giant compared to the tiny figures.

Gilliver has been collecting “Little People” figurines for decades and only really modifies them to make them more diverse.

Many of his recent works were made during the pandemic, when overseas travel was difficult and involved a lot of hassle.

Miniature scene by David Gilliver
David Gilliver said he often used fruit to create scenery, including halved oranges and grapes, which look giant compared to the tiny figurines.
David Gilliver/Zenger

The series 100 dioramas in 100 days was made between January and April of this year and depicts light-hearted tropical vacation scenes and lots of vino.

He said the lockdown was a perfect opportunity to dream up new ideas, including Shorthengeshowing revelers worshiping a stone circle made of shortbread.

A piece, Bathing in the sunshowed a diver about to dive into half an orange, while Tanning salon showed a topless couple basking in the “rays” of a plastic avocado.

Others used technology as a backdrop, with Hang the remote control showing a family reclining on a small sofa superimposed on a television remote control.

David Gilliver Hugging the Remote miniature scene
David Gilliver’s “Hogging the Remote” shows a family reclining on a tiny couch superimposed on a TV remote.

Between January and April 2022, he completed 100 works in 100 days and used the prospect of sunny vacations as inspiration for his light works.

Gilliver, also a father-of-one, said: “I have always enjoyed the interaction that occurs between the 2 centimeter tall figurines and the objects or accessories that we humans use or consume in our daily lives. .

“A lot of the images have food as the main subject – it seems to be a recurring theme in my work over the years.

“I’ve lost track of who I’m going to shop – my family or the ‘Little People’?

“The shooting time for each diorama varied, but on average, each shot probably took between two and three hours to set up, shoot and edit.

Miniature scene by David Gilliver Shorthenge
David Gilliver’s “Shorthenge” shows revelers worshiping a stone circle made of shortbread.

“Sometimes lighting miniature scenes in a satisfying way is the trickiest part, so I spend a lot of time getting that part right.

“I may shoot each diorama up to 50-200 times before I’m satisfied that I’ve captured the scene in a way I’m happy with.

“It takes a lot of patience.”

Gilliver is exhibiting this weekend at the Glasgow Contemporary Art Fair at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

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