August 11, 2008
One panel of Britannica. (click photos to enlarge)
It's too good to be true. Artist Chesko (see last post regarding Midtown) succumbed to my infantile beggings and supplications and has recently sent exclusive photographs of his early Britannica work! Chesko's Britannica is staggering; I have no idea how he did it. It's almost sad to think that that this creation is rolled up in one of Chesko's closets... when it should be hanging on a gallery wall.
Of his fantasy city, Chesko says,
Britannica is the Imagination run amok - my Magnum Opus.
It begins with a series of maps scaled 1 inch to a mile. Britannica is a city of roughly 400 square miles that contains over 10 million people. It is surrounded by hundreds of suburbs, and the maps when connected portray a metropolitan area over 150 miles wide.
I recently went to Wikipedia to see a map of Gotham City drawn by Eliot R. Brown. My Britannica map is drawn in very similar style, only it makes this rendition of Gotham City look like Hooterville. I also copied maps of the Los Angeles metropolitan area to the same scale, spliced them together, and put them beside Britannica - and Britannica is considerably larger. I have drawn more streets and freeways for Britannica than the whole Los Angeles metropolitan area has in reality. Britannica is easily as intricate and complicated as New York.
The buildings in Britannica are gigantic. They are ruled by a Titan called Britannica Rex, (the locals call it The Rex), a soaring spectacle reminiscent of the Empire State Building - only it is 2,400 feet tall. In addition to Britannica Rex there is the New World Center, an incredibly massive skyscraper over 2,025 feet tall. Britannica has more than 20 skyscrapers over a thousand feet, and I have modeled them all. Yes!
Although it is incomplete, I have a model of downtown Britannica that is slightly larger than the Midtown model of New York. All my models are the same scale, 1:3200. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We will be anxious to soon see the Model of Britannica... even if it is incomplete.
August 07, 2008
Stop and Smell the Miniatures
Artist Michael Chesko must live by a similar credo. He first caught the miniature bug while working as a software engineer for Motorola in the early 1980s. His original creation... a sprawling imaginary city named Britannica! His medium and tools... balsa wood, Xacto blades, and fingernail files.
But after ten years of purely creative (but somewhat geeky) fantasy, he realized he must put childish things aside... after all, why spend time daydreaming when one could enjoy the demanding exactitude of reality?
And so, he brings us Midtown Manhattan, his most ambitious work to date...
This scale miniature of Midtown took 2000 hours to complete. As reference, he used blueprints, old photographs, digital reproductions, and satellite images. On a good day, he'd work his way through four city blocks. The entire model is 36" x 30"... a good deal smaller than most office desks. At the 1:3200 scale, the Empire State Building Chesko's favorite skyscraper) roughly reaches the dizzying height of a Campbell's Soup can.
All of us here at the Republic pretty much flipped when we saw Chesko's hand-carved miniatures. Yet we're torn. Because the Republic also takes joy in childish, boneheaded fantasy. That's why we're dying to see some of Chesko's earlier Britannica work! C'mon Chesko!... show us the geeky fun stuff!
Chesko's Midtown model will soon go on display at the Skyscraper Museum in New York. Much thanks to Micheal Chesko himself, who sent Tinselman these photos!
August 06, 2008
The Mysterious Silver Tinsel Weed
As Tinselman (and the founder of the Republic of Tinselman), I'm always on the lookout for all things tinsel (and wondrously tinselistic). Which is why I ran across flickr photographer Cobalt 123 and his mysterious silver tinsel weed. He noticed the tinsel while wandering through the Tonto National Forest, in Arizona. As he says...
This is the first photo of many I shot of this amazing "tinsel" plant I found hiking around in the near dark. It was so shiny and silver that it caught my eye. I really thought it was trash of some sort and was amazed to find it was part of the plant. Any ideas on what this could be?
Other than these few flickr photos, I've found no other references to tinsel weed.
click photos to enlarge (flickr link)