These Artists Are Tackling Big Issues through Tiny Works of Art
Pacific Northwest artist Christopher Boffoli combines miniature, hand-painted figurines from Germany with staged arrangements of food and beverages to create clever photographic vignettes. Inspired by an unusual combination of magazine food photography and the 18th century fable “Gulliver’s Travels,” Boffoli explores how inverting the proportions of people and their surroundings create unexpected points of interest. These creative scenes evoke an uncanny, albeit theatrically portrayed, likeness to the world at large. Boffoli also uses language to enhance the photographic narratives by selecting tongue-in-cheek titles that draw on old adages, colloquial sayings, and witty repartees, adding another level of interest to the work.
Inspired by childhood stories and his experience as a food writer, Christopher Boffoli crafts imaginative uses for food items. His photographs play with ideas of scale, placing Lilliputian dolls sourced from Europe in culinary environs. In Harry’s Secret, for example, a tiny figurine is submerged in the highly detailed crevices of a croissant, while another holding a shovel looms over it. The image suggests a murder has taken place, and the croissant takes on grave overtones. "In the context of my work, I thought the concept was a great foil for the way our American penchant for massive portion sizes has the potential to transform something that nurtures us into something that does us harm,” Boffoli has said. He photographs all of his work against bright, monochromatic backgrounds, using real food as his subjects, which he views as a corrective against the highly doctored and often-artificial food used in advertising and culinary magazines.
American, b. 1969, Worcester, Massachusetts, based in Seattle, Washington