A DAY IN A LIFE OF...

Every month we will interview the boldest craftsmen who are living the Pig & Hen lifestyle. This month, we have interviewed…

THORSTEN - MINIATURE ARTIST

How did you gravitate toward this rather niche form of miniature art?

It fascinates me for quite some time, but my first picture was taken only about a year ago. I’ve assembled some miniature scenes before, but never photographed it. Now that I’ve got this obsession, I buy more and more figures that fit Pig & Hen. The first ever figure I got my hands on, was a present for a friend of mine, a tiny guy that looked exactly like him. I placed it on a Pig & Hen bracelet and thought it looked funny. It was the right time and the right place, so the interest in miniatures started developing step-by-step, getting its own dynamics.

Why Pig & Hen?

Pig & Hen has always been self-evident to me. Besides the bracelets, I like the story behind the brand, its marketing, and prominence. I got my first bracelet about 2 years ago, in summer 2017. I used to wear bracelets in my twenties, back then I wrapped a regular leather strap around my wrist. When I first visited the Pig & Hen website, I saw that every bracelet has its very own story, personality, even name! At first, I thought about whether I should buy it or not. But after a moment of hesitation, the decision was made. So, I bought a Barato Bob in dark-gray and I still think it is the best bracelet I’ve ever bought! I got bracelets from other brands too, but this was a game changer to me.

What Inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration on Instagram; miniature photography is new to me and I take a close look at a lot of artists working in the field. I know how I want to illustrate some of my ideas in advance. However, at times there’s just too much going on in the same picture, so I either add some details or take some out. The amount of supplies is growing, which means I can portray some old ideas in a new way. When I close a Pig & Hen topic, I think that variation at this point is not possible. For instance, I have a circus troupe, a-la Cirque du Soleil, and I have absolutely no clue what to do with it regarding Pig & Hen. But the little figures are very patient…

What techniques, equipment, and materials comprise an integral part of process?

These tiny arrangements are handcrafted with scissors, paper, and glue. It’s been a really long time, since I had this amount of stationary at my disposal, probably, back in the kindergarten. Pig & Hen also makes bracelet- and t-shirt boxes out of wood, which I use in my compositions. Furniture and figures come from model train sets. The miniature figure thing is getting bigger and companies give tribute to that: their assortment is growing. Of course, I can buy a lot but not every figure fits, so my collection is growing gradually. Not only do I focus on the bracelets, but sometimes an idea arises from the shackle or even a pin! I never know how long it is going to take: sometimes it takes more time to arrange a setting than the post-production itself, sometimes vice versa. It takes time and patience to arrange these tiny figures with tweezers. If one of them falls down – everything around it also falls down. That’s when I think to myself: Well… And start over. While I arrange a new composition, often there comes a new idea, I never know what the journey is going to be about!

Do you transcend your inner self into the stories you compositions tell?

It’s a mix of imagination and real-life situations. When I explore a Pig & Hen topic, I look closely at the colors, their representation of the idea. Some are more monochrome, some are louder. Telling a story through these tiny arrangements, I create an alternative miniature world, where each picture has its own direction. When I go to an artistic site, a museum, I look at what people are interested in when they look at the paintings. Thus, the focus is not always on art, it’s often on people. People and their actions. Scenes, such as road workers outside, heavyweight men dragging, pulling, lifting things, inspire me the most. Handcraftsmanship is like an imaginative spectrum to me. Given how small a shackle or a bracelet is, there’s an obvious ironic undertone to my art: the difference in size between the tiny people and big things they work with is ludicrous! Because of the scaling, a lightweight bracelet is heavy for the miniature people, they’re like insects carrying wood. For the tiny people living under your carpet it’s hard work… What a paradox!

Which miniature compositions are the most treasured ones and why?

It’s a miniature figure with a wooden box in its hand, surrounded by the bracelet. A minimalist picture with a monochrome palette, and through the contrast between sharp details and blurry background it focuses on the tiny man himself. And one of the first complex compositions was a Miniature Pig & Hen store. There’s also a painter in there who paints a bracelet, the difference in size between the two is just absurd! I took dozens of pictures, but the final one is the essence of them all. It gives me joy, it’s relaxing, and taken into account the amount of patience that comes with it, it’s almost meditative! You see something that is normally big, a wall for instance, and it’s really tiny, – the devil is in the detail! I’ve had some cameras over the years, but no macro lenses, no nothing. Since I got a good camera for miniatures, day-by-day I learn a lot about photography. Working with various vector- and raster graphics software is the part where I see myself most fit because I work as a media designer during the day. Some aspects of my job are quite routine, so working with miniatures allows me to explore my creativity.

Thorsten is wearing Tiny Ted

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