John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
An artist making humorous miniature scenes is transforming the city into Lilliput.
For months now, Londoners have had to trod with care lest they accidentally crush a bunch of really tiny people. The mini-dudes have been popping up all over the city – lounging inside a flower, examining cigarette butts in CSI garb, whacking a ludicrously regular-sized golf ball into the River Thames.
The wee gatherings are the work of a 27-year-old artist from Essex who goes by "Roy's People" or just Roy. Using a scalpel and paint, Roy whittles the wee homunculi in his studio and then sets out into London (and other places) to find an appropriate setting for them. Then he goes to his Facebook and drops hints of their location to his followers, who set out on a treasure hunt to find them. They seem to enjoy the detective work even when it's a bit arduous, to judge from one Facebook comment: "Really enjoyed marching around Rayleigh stareing in different directions and generally getting lost and confused in my own town. Thank you for an enjoyable evening and our little person!"
As to why Roy is obsessed with turning the U.K. into Lilliput, he told the Other Art Fair:
Tyson describes the responses to the hunts as ‘incredible…the public really enjoy it. It is exciting to see people who take no interest in art suddenly actively searching for it. Each figure is individual and I sign each label so effectively the figure are original works of art. Many ‘winners’ of the hunt send me photos of their discoveries which I then post on facebook to complete the cycle. As an artist, it is great to have feedback on my work and connect with my followers’.
"Roy's People" has a new show opening April 3 at London's Curious Duke Gallery; for folks who won't be able to check it out, the artist has given his blessing to share some photos:
Photos used with permission of Roy's People