Randy Hage is taking miniatures into fine art territory with his NYC storefront series.
He spent over 25 years in the movie business making props, set pieces, and models for movies like Jurassic Park; and he taught set and prop fabrication at FIDM in Los Angeles. His current project consists of 1/12th scale models of NYC mom and pop storefronts – documenting a part of the city that’s disappearing as real estate values go up, and the city changes.
“Over the past 15 years, I have photographed over 700 storefronts. More than half of those have moved or have gone out of business. Through my work, I try to honor these storefronts and the people who lived in them and served their community. In some cases, these shops have served the people of New York for decades. They are almost like characters in the story of everyday life in the city. The soul of the city comes from its residents and their diversity. These storefronts and the diverse community that they serve are unique, and it is this quality that makes New York special.”
Hage uses a lot of familiar materials and techniques to create his life-like pieces – hand cast resin, plastic, metal aged by hand, and airbrushing. The amount of detail he puts in is what makes these pieces spectacular… from trashcans to piles of newspaper, payphones, and coin-operated candy machines. Some of his pieces have working awning lights.
In this interview he gets into some of the nitty-gritty of his work – pay attention, there may be some tricks in there you can use in future projects. His tutorials on bricks and leaves are worth the time. You can check out more of his work here and here.