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Slinkachu: Re-imagining street art using train set figures

When your hear the words “street art” your mind probably springs to Banksy and graffiti, but Slinkachu is out to change these perceptions.

The London-based artist started out in 2006 with The Little People Project, wherein he started creating tableuax using train-set characters that he bought and custom painted.

He would then put the characters in a scene within the London cityscape, photograph his work, and leave it for the general public – or nature – to do with it what they will.

The street-based side of my work plays with the notion of surprise and I aim to encourage city-dwellers to be more aware of their surroundings,” Slinkachu writes in his artist statement.

“The scenes I set up, more evident through the photography and the titles I give these scenes, aim to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city; the universal sense of being overlooked, lost and overwhelmed.”

However, Slinkachu says his work is also humorous and aims to point out how “preposterous” our world can be at times.

As for how he actually goes about creating his work, the 39-year-old – who was born in Devon but otherwise has sought to remain largely anonymous – explained his process in a 2014 piece written for The Guardian.

First he purchases his figures – for around £2 ($AUD3.50) apiece – then paints and arranges them based on the story he wants to tell.

His other props are just random objects: “a bottle cap might become a boat, a dead insect could pull a cart, and a tennis ball could be a desert island.”

He then takes to the streets, using superglue to set his scenes up and then photographing them using a “wide depth of field to bring the characters to life”.

While he acknowledges working outside has its challenges – such as dealing with the elements, the general public, and security guards – Slinkachu also says these issues add “an element of uncertainty and surprise”.

Finally, with scene set and photographed, he just walks away, “abandoning” his creation.

“I like to think that perhaps the stories continue after I leave,” he wrote.

“Much like real people that you pass on the street, tiny street art scenes are glimpsed for a second, and then they are gone.”

'Ant-Man' by Slinkachu

'Youseum' by Slinkachu

'Geneva' by Slinkachu

About the author

Joe likes to write about himself in the third person, even if he thinks it’s horribly pretentious when others do it.

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