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The City Is Decaying:Joshua Smith

The City Is Decaying:Joshua Smith


People always turn their attention to the most dynamic and bustling cities. There is always a strong attraction in the noisy places in the city, but when the hustle and bustle passes, the vitality of life gradually subsides, and those corners that begin to decay gradually exude a different flavor. The art of micro-models is now in the limelight, and the diverse styles are a feast for the eyes. Today, I will introduce to you the microscopic sculpture works with the theme of decaying cities. (Want to learn more about steampunk art? )


These other kinds of sculpture art come from Australian miniature sculpture and model artist - Joshua Smith. Drawing inspiration from often overlooked scenes of life, his work consists primarily of surrealist urban architecture and focuses on an often overlooked corner of the urban environment.

Joshua said, “I love to observe the abandoned corners of city life, from discarded cigarettes to trash to dirt and rust stains on buildings, they make me realize the loneliness of being in the bustling but forgotten, and appreciate the time. The taste and state of decay."

Joshua Smith has built many detailed micro-architecture models. These 1:20 scale model prototypes are taken from many large cities, such as Hong Kong, Sydney, Los Angeles, etc. Most of them are "rusty" and dilapidated, reflecting the long history The vicissitudes of history and the characteristics of different cities.

His production materials are quite rich, mainly including MDF, wood, cardboard, plastic card, chalk pastel, spray paint, wire, plastic. His work spans the globe and is often shown in galleries in London, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne and Hong Kong, perfectly recreating gritty and decaying urban landscapes.

Joshua Smith is a former graffiti artist who has been creating graffiti for 18 years and runs an art gallery in Adelaide. 3 years ago, Joshua's interests changed and he turned to the world of miniature sculpture and began to experiment with fresh artistic perspectives.

This is not a change for no reason. Joshua was obsessed with the production of microscopic models when he was a child, especially the models of railways. At that time, he only used cardboard to build some simple scenes. Later, with his creative passion and artistic talent, Joshua soon became self-taught and officially started his artistic career in microscopic sculpture.

In recent years, Joshua has focused on researching things that fall into disuse. Before creating, he collects many field photos for reference, and then starts to build his models using fiberboard, cardboard, plastic, etc. The exterior details are then decorated with various brushes. The latest four-story project took him nearly three months, often working eight to 16 hours a day. 


To be as realistic as possible. Joshua put a lot of effort into looking at as many photos as he could. Sometimes, the 3D real pictures on google earth can't meet his needs. If he can't be there to observe and take photos in person, he will also entrust local friends to go to the scene to help take photos, especially the shooting of details.

Joshua found it a challenge to make these realistic and detailed works, and he was excited to play with the perspective relationships between the models. He once confidently said that if his models were taken outside in the sun, the resulting photos would be almost indistinguishable. But in the end, being able to confuse the public and make it difficult for the public to distinguish between true and false because of his works is the main source of his sense of accomplishment.

In Joshua's microscopic model, the first floor is mostly shops, where the details are the most abundant and can best reflect the characteristics of the city where the building is located. Some shops are under construction and decoration, some are covered with advertising posters, and some have their shutter doors closed because of closing time, and there are graffiti created by street artists on the shutter doors. It is worth noting that these graffiti are also by Joshua.


Joshua Smith is a real detailer. It's not just as simple as adding a small table on the roof, the cigarette case and newspaper on the table, and even the text on the newspaper have been restored, and even discarded takeaway boxes, drink bottles and other garbage have been carefully crafted. The countless details are breathtaking. Not only that, Joshua even made the room furnishings inside the building delicately. For example, the kung fu school on the floor, the decorations, weapons and other props of the practice room can be seen through the windows.


Not only does it replicate the appearance of city streets, but Joshua also realizes the functions of urban supporting facilities. For example, street lights can flash and building alarms can go off. Best of all is his model of a San Francisco repair shop, where the lights at the door of the "repair shop" are sensor-activated lights that are no different from real life.

When making models, Joshua uses real materials as much as possible, such as cardboard, plastic, cement, charcoal, paint, etc., or performs secondary processing on materials to make them as close to the texture as possible in real life. For example, the floor slabs are made of wood and have been aged. Garbage bins, which are generally uninterested accessories, are also carefully crafted using a variety of materials such as cardboard, paint and charcoal.

Beyond that, Joshua found that the more dirt you added to a building, the more realistic it would appear. The container is not only made of cardboard and paint, but also has some rust stains attached to it, and the vicissitudes of time will arise spontaneously. In addition to being realistic, Joshua's works are also very detailed. Often a stairwell consists of 100 tiny parts. Therefore, Joshua's work is very time-consuming.

 Although these huge workloads are exhausting, Joshua is enjoying it. He said, "I work hard to reshape the real world, even brick by brick, in the hope that it will give everyone the illusion of being fake and real, so that everyone can recreate and observe the world we live in from another angle. "

Let us enjoy this together

One-twentieth microscopic decaying world

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