Art allows us to escape into new worlds. Some of the most wondrous mediums take that sentiment quite literally. From fairy houses to terrariums and miniature treehouses, we adore all the pocket-sized creations that transport us to unique settings. Toronto-based artist Curtis Talwst has mastered the art of turning ordinary objects into extraordinary microcosms, using vintage ring boxes as the stage. Anyone can become completely lost inside his otherworldly scenes, many of which are set in the natural world.
Talwst invented his rare specialty after a street vendor at a Paris market gave him an antique ring box and said, “I want to see you do something with this.” Talwst took on the challenge, depicting a woman by the sea in a vintage swimsuit. It was then that his majestic series was born. His explanation behind the unique fascination? “I want the viewer to open the box and feel they have been transported to another world.”
Using a variety of materials, Talwst‘s whimsical creations bring life to old objects that may otherwise be discarded, turning them into timeless works of art. Much of the series depicts irreverent landscapes within forest, seas, city streets, and even space. Others offer commentary on serious current events, such as global warming in a box entitled Summer in Winter and police brutality in the Execution of Michael Brown.
“The work’s small scale allows me the opportunity for a very particular kind of meditation,” he says. “The overarching theme is related to time and space; to my sense of the vastness and the fragility of the world which I inhabit; and my fleeting memories of this world.”