There’s a lot of debate going on in online and offline circles about the death of the Original Idea – a great deal is being said about how each work of art, story plot, building design or interior décor concept (among many infinite formats called “art”) is a copy of its predecessors; that each new work of art constitutes the sum of all the influences that came before it.
I’d have to slightly (actually, quite vehemently) disagree when it comes to the street art of 31-year-old alias, Slinkachu.
His work has been copied by many so-called “artists” on deviantart.com (and other platforms) because of its stark originality and the sheer brilliance of its conception. So, what’s the big fuss? It’s a little fuss, actually, which embraces 3-dimensional art, photography, social commentary, and what can only be described as “for the people”.
Slinkachu obtains miniature figurines (people, animals, objects, etc.) from train sets, then remodels them into the characters he desires, paints them and places them in the required position in whichever cityscape he finds himself. He makes use of whatever else he can find in that environment: dead insects, cigarette butts, litter, fast food wrappers, and the surrounding architecture and buildings. Once in position, he photographs a miniature scene, gives it the appropriate title, and then departs for his next project, leaving the modelled scene completely intact for whomever to find it on the street.
He has built, photographed and abandoned hundreds of these intricately composed scenes in cities across the world – from Beijing to Germany, New York to Belgium, London and even Cape Town. The more people who know about where Slinkachu’s next project will be compiled, the more people become intimately aware of their cityscapes, looking for these tiny works of art, yet also becoming very finely conscious of their surroundings.
In order to capture these miniscule works of art with their enormous message, Slinkachu has had three books published and, since 2007, has exhibited his photographs and art at various galleries around the world, at solo and group shows. Whether his work is appropriate for auction remains to be seen – perhaps the photographs that were specifically taken from the Cape Town installation at Khayelitsha, called Balancing Act would be something that Strauss Art could incorporate into a format that works at a formal auction.
So, who says that original ideas are dead? New ideas such as Slinkachu’s incredible street art around the world provide us with a means to explore our life philosophies, our own identity, and the identity of the city that rises up around us.