An Art Inception: Joe Fig’s Dioramas Of Artists Making Art In Their Studios

Published April 9, 2015
Updated March 30, 2015

The artist’s studio is akin to the scientist’s laboratory. It is a space for ideas to take physical form; it is a place for innovation and–pending the occupant’s mental state–alchemy. It is also deeply personal, simultaneously reflecting and shaping the artist’s creative process. Knowing this, American sculptor Joe Fig utilized his own talent to create miniature dioramas of famous artists’ studios and workspaces, recreating in great detail whole rooms in which they allowed their genius to germinate.

The result isn’t unlike a scene from “Inception”, but this really hits home when you imagine Fig sculpting the diorama of himself while in his studio–while physically standing in the very studio he’s recreating in miniature (see below). Have a headache yet?

Here is Fig’s diorama of his own workspace, where he sculpts himself consulting photos for a project.

Here we observe the interior of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock’s paint-speckled garage, where the affectionately nicknamed “Jack the Dripper” created masterpieces such as Convergence and Full Fathom Five. Not only does Fig capture the physical likeness of each artist and their space, but he must also recreate tiny paintings and other classic works shown within the spaces, a true testament to his patience and attention to detail.

Ross Bleckner’s studio space has the distinction of being located in a home once owned by Truman Capote. Bleckner purchased the home in 1993, and has been adding square footage (and a separate studio) to it ever since. A master of symbolic imagery, Bleckner says, “The experience of making a painting is very important to me—its physicality and its visceral connection to an engaged truth, which is determined by the reference to how an idea accords.”

Chuck Close is well-known for his massive scale portraiture. Close has prosopagnosia, or face-blindness, and also suffered a paralyzing spinal artery collapse in 1988, but still creates commissions for celebrities, and produces pieces that are in high demand by many museums.

Also part of the abstract expressionist movement was painter and sculptor Willem de Kooning, who is best known for his Woman series. While de Kooning no doubt saw Picasso as an influence, art critics later noted that Picasso also mirrored de Kooning’s signature style in some his later works.

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.
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