This Artist Creates Miniatures of Iconic NYC Objects
If you’re a fan of collectible items, region-specific knickknacks, or nostalgic action figures, you’ll get a kick out of this New York-based artist and his work.
For Danny Cortes, crafting the miniature sculptures was originally a hobby, but it quickly turned into a passion. His creative pastime developed during the beginning of the pandemic following a divorce, unemployment, and a four-year probationary period. As he was scrolling through social media, he came across a “diorama of a World War II scene, then a model railroad set, then intricate, hyper-realistic models of movie sets,” according to his interview with The New York Times.
This community of diorama artists — combined with his longtime history of collecting action figures — inspired him to play around with materials like poster board to create a bodega icebox. Native New Yorkers or transplants that moved to the city will immediately recognize the common neighborhood fixture, so it’s not a surprise that his creation was loved. Although the item was three inches tall, it “turned his life around” and was sold at Sotheby’s last year for $1,890.
“I loved that when I worked on a piece, I didn’t think about my problems — my divorce, the pandemic,” Cortes said in the interview. “It was an escape — like I’m meditating, literally floating. I didn’t have a problem in the world. I wanted that high again, I kept chasing that.” Now, Cortes’ work can be found in the homes of hip-hop stars like 2 Chainz and Dave East.
In addition to creating the miniature fixtures, he’s also customized items to appeal to New Yorkers. On his TikTok account, he shared a video of a tiny, green trash can (the size of a pencil holder) that you’ll see just about anywhere in the city.