Back when she was an art student at Colorado State University, Becky Waring Steele, today a Denver-based artist, crafter and entrepreneur, remembers folks telling her that if she wanted to be taken seriously as an artist, she shouldn't show in retail settings. "But I've always been interested in public art and art that is accessible," says Wareing Steele, and that's why she's excited about her debut exhibit at Fancy Tiger Clothing, which kicks of with an opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday, September 5, and runs through October 2. The show is all about miniatures -- in particular, the teeny plastic husband-and-wife duo that Wareing Steele has been toying with for the past four years in an effort to shift her perspective...and yours, too.
See also: Suzanne Heintz and her plastic love in Life Once Removed
The exhibit, entitled The Adventures of Henri & Evelyn, invites viewers to re-examine the everyday via a series of iPhone photographs chronicling a tiny couple, Henri and Evelyn, as they engage in various adventures and misadventures.
"Traveling around with these miniature figures challenges me to look at everyday situations in a new light, too," says Wareing Steele. "Whether I'm in another state or exploring Denver, I am constantly playing with the scale and feel of the environment around me."
Wareing Steele likes to experiment with both size and scale, and enjoys getting different results from different settings. Sometimes, she'll make it look like the figures are life-sized humans caught in their natural surroundings; other times, they are microscopic explorers responding to their massive environment. "It's not always me trying to make them look like they fit into the set they are in; sometimes it is them looking tiny against a much larger scale," Wareing Steele explains. The idea, the photographer says, is to get folks to reexamine the space they are caught up in.
The photographs are accompanied by "really silly commentary that mirrors the life of a married couple," adds Wareing Steele. She's married, but the fictional relationship that has formed between her miniatures doesn't much relate to her real-life relationship. "It's a composite of all of these different relationships I observed growing up," she says, noting that her grandparents were always silly and sarcastic with a very loving banter that often inspires the captions.
Continue reading for more on Wareing Steele's miniatures and her upcoming show at Fancy Tiger. Wareing Steele started out by showing the series through social media, posting her pictures on Instagram. "The more pictures I take, the more it fills in the story of Evelyn and Henri," she says. The two have traveled extensively through Colorado; although Wareing Steele hasn't revealed their favorite destination, her own is Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs.
Wareing Steele's photography exhibit will be accompanied by dioramas and diorama-related jewelry that find the couple in both fantastical and everyday settings. "I guess I never grew out of the projects I did in elementary school -- you know, old shoebox dioramas with wolves," Wareing Steele says.
For her diorama jewelry, a product of becky's buttons and things, Wareing Steele uses recycled glass vessels to house miniature landscapes. The project is a collaborative effort between Wareing Steele and local illustrator Sara Guindon, who illustrates the backgrounds of each piece. Fancy Tiger Clothing, where Wareing Steele is the store manager, carries the full product line. Purchases can also be made on Wareing Steele's website.
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