Drew Leshko’s Miniature Buildings Are A Study Of Neighborhood Gentrification

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When Philadelphia-based artist Drew Leshko cycles around his neighborhood, he can’t help but look at the buildings, windows, doors, posters, trash cans and signs around him in a very different way than most people do. For him, they are the beginning of his next project – shrinking them into miniature replicas of themselves on a scale of 1:12. He cuts, glues, builds, layers, and sculpts 3D versions of different store fronts from wood and paper. Leshko says his art form is a way of preserving and archiving the condition of the buildings on his street, the rate and speed of gentrification and also comments on what people consider worth preserving, and what is worth destroying.

His paper sculptures are nostalgic of a time past; a look at his local life when he was younger; a recreation of what was. He has created versions of his grandfather’s camper from the 80s, a local church, a strip bar, a cigarette outlet, a deli, dumpsters, even vending machines. The accuracy of his miniatures and the attention to detail are what make his sculptures as impressive as they are. He even paints rust on over the old gutters or windows and puts acid rain deposits on the footpaths.

Leshko has not only been busy making building facades and details, he has also turned his attention to replicating campervans.

The buildings are huge undertakings and take a lot of time and patience. So I began to think about some smaller sculptures I could make, but most importantly, what type of objects can be constructed of paper? I started to think about tractor-trailers, vans, food trucks, and similar vehicles when I landed on camper trailers. My work has always included commentary on the temporal nature of things, so the transient nature of “RV culture” fits right in to that idea. (Source)

Leshko’s celebration of a particular moment in time is a good reminder to appreciate the way things are in our own neighborhoods – because they will certainly be changing, for better or worse.

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