The Artist Creating Miniature Worlds in Tobacco Tins

Pin It
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland© Lee C. Wallick

Artist and filmmaker Lee. C Wallick constructs tiny contemporary fairytales inside ordinary-seeming boxes

Artist and filmmaker Lee C. Wallick is a collector at heart. Where most people are content to let odds and ends languish around the house, however – think trinkets, vintage stamps, clippings from her favourite magazines and newspapers – she painstakingly repurposes them to create tiny fictional words; intricate Wunderkammer tins in which fashion and film merge.

There’s an innate tactility to this approach. From the outside her boxes look identical, but once opened they expose the minuscule thematic worlds hosted within. Each is based upon a fairytale, but given a contemporary edge too – whether that’s a tiny three-dimensional Ariel from The Little Mermaid reading Condé Nast Traveller magazine next to True Romance’s Alabama, or Puss in Boots’ tiny bottle of Joy, by Jean Patou. “There is generally a fashion, film and flower element,” Wallick explains. “One might first wonder why I’ve put Leonardo DiCaprio in the Little Red Riding Hood box, but hopefully they’ll get the reference to The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Wallick first started creating the tins as personalised gifts for her friends and family; each comes accompanied by an assiduously assembled table of contents explaining where every last clipping was sourced from. For example, in The Frog Prince: “A spread from the May/June 1980 issue of Wet magazine, photographed by Jens Mortensen”. Water World:  “How did a magazine devoted to water capture the zeitgeist of its time? Kristine McKenna reminisces. Page 176, New York Times T,  August 19, 2009.” Her newest commissions include The Wizard of Oz and a Wuthering Heights-meets-Bloomsbury piece. It’s obscure, yes, but there’s no world – miniature or otherwise – too weird for Wallick.