Artist and expert miniaturist Jason D’Aquino creates his teeny-tiny realistic drawings on found objects, such as ledgers, leaflets, vintage calendars and papers. But his series on 1950s and '60s matchbooks are most impressive. Using a magnifying glass, the artist sketches detailed pop culture icons from days passed on recycled materials, often only a few inches in size!
In minute and meticulous detail, D’Aquino uses pencils to draw historic characters, machinery or horror posters in chiaroscuro. Retro movie posters are a huge influence, with perfect mini mimics of “Attack of the 50 ft Woman” and “Mars Attacks,” being amongst his sold works. The artist also creates tiny portraits, favoring icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock and Eraserhead. He also takes inspiration from history, both in his materials and subjects, which tend to influence each other when conducting research or foraging for found materials in which to draw on.
The matchbooks D’Aquino sources give clues and riddles to their past lives. Some have the names of motels emblazoned in kitschy retro font. Others advertise bars and restaurants in small towns around the country, with amenities like “cold beer” or “air conditioning.”
But aside from recycling the unused materials, D’Aquino leaves us a hint of the matchbook’s past, letting our imaginations run wild. A few missing matches from a motel match book, coupled with one of D’Aquino’s pencil portraits, lets our minds wander to a narrative, pondering the perhaps dodgy character whom lit his cigarette outside of said motel, while waiting for a scandalous tryst.