Japanese mitate artist, author and photographer Tanaka Tatsuya displays beauty in little things. By combining common objects with an immense library of tiny figurines, Tanaka uplifts and stuns his audiences with every day, relatable scenes depicted in a unique perspective. From a tiny Roman Colosseum scene in a tart shell to a transporting beach tableau using a prosciutto sandwich and egg “sun,” his charming creations regularly attract vast audience from around the world.
Known as the first “miniature” photographer, Tanaka is drawing attention with his ‘Miniature Calendar’, a collection of shooting one photograph a day for more than ten years. What started out as a hobby of collecting and making plastic miniature figures soon led him to post daily photographs of his miniature creations on Instagram. Soon his work gained popularity turning him into a “miniature” photographer. Since 2011, this Japanese art director and designer has been creating playful and intricate miniature dioramas as part of his ‘Miniature Calendar’ project.
Born in Kumamoto Prefecture in 1981, Tanaka graduated in art major and became art director at a design firm. He began creating ‘Miniature Calendar’ in 2011 and has since exhibited the Miniature Life Exhibition: Tatsuya Tanaka’s World of Resemblance, which attracted over 1,600,000 visitors in August 2021.
His latest exhibition at The Japan Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai comprises of 128 displays of miniature artworks personally and individually assembled for the event. Categorised in 4 themes – Space, City, Sea and Land, each presentation interprets technological advancement and innovation in a distinctive mind-blowing style.
How do you develop unique themes?
Over the last 10 years I had designed and created multiple themed installations. The four zones, Land, City, Sea and Space were chosen to complete the pavilion’s objectives therefore several pieces from my previous collection were relevant to these themes. Reviewing the presented subjects, I was able to curate the best depictions and present for final selection. Together we managed to assign the zones with matching pieces thus allocated more time to development of additional artworks.
How do you make sure you have time daily to create an artwork? Where do you find your inspiration from?
My studio is a creative haven, and it is where I pour my energy to develop and build on projects. While we take daily chores like shopping, washing, leaning and such for granted, it is here I have found my inspiration to create my miniature world.
What does it mean to be original and unique, according to you?
While originality and being unique are different, they work hand in hand when put in a certain perspective. Having put in many years and effort to develop the original idea of Miniature Calendar, one can also say the concept is unique. When I started out, I wasn’t specifically seeking anything extraordinary or unique. I was automatically driven to find ways of presenting my photography. However, this turned out to become an original idea for installation as well.
Where do you find your diorama dolls?
I purchase 70 per cent of my dolls from German based manufacturer Preiser. The remainder 30 per cent I make or modify myself allowing me that flexibility to match the theme I’m working on.
Are more people exploring this form of art?
This form of art is becoming popular; many artists are experimenting and developing their own niche. So, we are seeing a great increase of interest in this area.
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