To say artist Phillip Nuveen has an eye for detail would be an understatement, as evidenced through his creation of perfect miniatures — exacting replicas of luxury items from high-fashion bags to midcentury modern chairs, all tiny enough to sit in the palm of your hand.
“I’m best known probably for my miniatures of high-fashion items — small Hermès boxes, tiny Chanel bags, miniature luxury packaging, luxury goods, the most coveted handbags and luggage in the world,” Nuveen, of Brooklyn, N.Y., tells Yahoo Lifestyle about the pieces that he creates and sells on Etsy.
“I do consider myself a fine artist,” he adds. “I know it’s kind of kitschy, because it’s miniatures.”
But it’s that marriage of artisan skill and cuteness that seems to appeal to his 10,000-plus fans on Instagram, where Nuveen shares images of mini chairs in the style of Eames and Mies van der Rohe, and teensy handbags that are shout-outs to Céline, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. His “micro-rooms” — dollhouse-size creations that might include a Hans Wegner Shell Chair and a mini Jackson Pollock painting — are a particular fan favorite.
“Gorgeous as always,” “So fantastic!” and “Can I live there?” are among the loving responses that such posts have elicited from fans of his work. And Nuveen has a theory about why people find his tiny artwork so delightful.
“I think people love miniatures so much because I think our minds kind of get real tingly and excited when it comes to scale,” he says, “whether something over-scale, like a gigantic pencil — that’s funny, for some reason — and then, when it comes to smaller scale, it’s like a world you get to peer into and kind of control.”
Nuveen’s Etsy shop is his “baby,” and the place to pick up his Lilliputian originals — a Longchamp tote bag at a one-sixteenth scale ($38), a Tribeca desk table at one-twelfth scale ($25), a midcentury Hollywood Hills armchair at one-sixteenth scale ($74), for example.
When pricing his 200-plus products, he says, “I try to be as affordable as possible, because at the end of the day, these are just tiny little handbags, and it would be ridiculous to charge a large amount of money for them.”
But his tiny accessories are high-quality goods, he adds. “I always say, ‘An artist is only as good as the materials they use,’ so I’m always on the hunt for, like, stronger types of Crescent board, different kinds of papers,” the artist explains. “I’m that person that’ll save the cap to a bottle of water [so] you could put a little peat moss in it and… it’s a planter!”
Nuveen adds that he’s lucky and he knows it: “I’ve been able to turn my miniature obsession into a career and an income.”
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