Drew Leshko is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based artist who creates micro, 1:12 anatomically correct architectural pieces of his own neighbourhood, replete with grime and imperfections. This is the rarely glimpsed side of Philadelphia, one that is slowly dissappearing as economic progress spurs forth more modern streetscapes, agreeable to modern design conventions.
Leshko’s three dimensional archive of places and locations examines gentrification and history, how historical relevance is determined, and most importantly, what is worth preserving.
Leshko works from personal observation and photographs and provides a unique dollhouse view onto the treatment of buildings, sheds, caravans, bins, iceboxes and other seemingly ‘ugly’ artifacts of modern society.
His art asks why it may (or may not) be necessary to ameliorate or rejuvenate certain places to bring them up to speed with modern styling and aesthetic values. Typically overlooked details like rust, caked mud, dirt, oil and general decay in his hands, become beautiful adornments and objects of remarkable and unexpected joy.
We live in a society that is constantly upgrading and disposing of the past, something Philadelphia based artist Drew Leshko aims to preserve. With a skilled attention to detail, Leshko miniaturizes the places, vehicles, and machines he encounters into paper sculptures. Recent subjects have included a local strip bar, his grandfather’s 80s camper, iceboxes, and even dumpsters, all replicated to 1:12 standard dollhouse scale with accuracy in cut archival paper and wood. He highlights these symbols of urban life in hopes others can begin to appreciate their every day surroundings. Buildings that are in a state of decay or on the cusp of redevelopment are the ones that catch his eye the most, which he describes as architectural “relics”. -Hi Fructose Magazine.
The dissapearance of working class neighbourhoods to gentrification happens all over the world. I documented this on Content Catnip last year, where I talked about the Westographer Warren Kirk. A photographer who has spent decades documenting the rapidly dissapearing world of mid-century shops, signage architecture in the old oil-refinery district of Melbourne – Altona, Westona, Laverton and Footscray. This area is coincidentally the home of Australia’s first female PM, Julia Gillard. Read the post here on Melbourne’s Rapidly Vanishing World.