Joshua Smith Serves Up Slices of Main Street in Meticulously Detailed Miniature Buildings


#Joshua Smith

December 13, 2023

Kate Mothes

A 1:20 scale model of a building facade with lots of posters and graffiti on the doors, and moss growing near the pipes.

Photos by Andrew Beveridge/ASBCreative. All images © Joshua Smith, shared with permission

Wheatpasted posters, spraypainted tags, and signs with missing letters are just a few of the hyperrealistic details on the facades of Joshua Smith’s extraordinary miniatures. “My work focuses on often neglected and abandoned buildings, which more often than not are covered in graffiti, rust, and grime,” the Adelaide, South Australia-based artist tells Colossal. Rendering corner stores, photo booths, and anonymous entryways with precision, he adds layers of lifelike details both inside and out, from stacks of boxes to checkout counters to racks of merchandise.

For his source imagery, Smith draws from visits around the U.S. and abroad, plus images he finds on Google Street View. Thanks to a popular Instagram account, if he can’t get to a particular location in person, sometimes his followers help out by visiting specific sites and snapping photos for reference. “I then break it down into different components, such as walls, windows, the ground, and other details,” he says. “Once the basic shape of the building has been made, I then apply the paint, signage, graffiti, and finally the weathering.” Using a variety of techniques, from 3D modeling to scratch-building with styrene, he creates every element himself.

Smith recently co-curated the group exhibition Miniature Worlds at the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery in Launceston, Tasmania, which continues through February 4. He will also exhibit as part of a group show next year with Outré Gallery in Melbourne, emphasizing signage and type. Small sculptures and accessories are often available in the artist’s online shop.

A figure holds a 1:20 scale miniature sculpture of a facade of a shop with posters and graffiti on it.

A scale model of an aging brick facade.

Detail of a miniature model of a storefront, focused on a rusted awning and old signage with letters faded and missing.

A side-by-side image of two miniature structures. The one on the left shows a photobooth, and the one of the right shows a Maj-jong shop.

A scale model of an aging apartment building with posters and crumbling signs on the front. On the side, a mural of two figures covers the blank end.

Detail of graffiti and stickers on the walls and doors of a miniature model.

A miniature model facade of a run-down bookshop.

A scale model of a vintage luncheonette. A hand holds it for scale.

Details of a scale model of a newsstand, focused on tiny magazines inside the shop.

A scale model of a corner shop with a sign that reads

#Joshua Smith

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