big talent tiny art
Fairlady|June 2020
When it comes to art, big and bold is usually what captures our imagination. Monet’s Water Lilies series stretches across endless canvases; Michelangelo’s 5m-high David towers over visitors. But size is not always an indication of skill. These artists create mind-blowing pieces that can easily fit into the palm of your hand – no canvas or clay required.
LIESL ROBERTSON

On point

Although he also does photography and paints, Russian artist Salavat Fidai’s favorite medium is a pencil. Which sounds simple, until you actually see his artworks; these are no ordinary sketches. Using a tiny craft knife and a magnifying glass, Salavat carves intricate micro sculptures into the graphite tips of pencils.

His subject matter varies; during a quick scroll through his works, we spotted the Iron Throne and The Night King from Game of Thrones, Darth Vader’s head, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel tower, Presidents Trump and Putin, and even some more mundane objects like a teacup and a book. ‘I find inspiration in pop culture, art, in the photographs, I take of buildings and monuments on my travels, and occasionally, even from my Instagram followers,’ Salavat says.

‘This is a unique and very interesting form of art,’ he writes. ‘Graphite is an extremely brittle material, and sculptures often break down in the process. But it does not upset me; on the contrary, I find it exciting and suspenseful. Every new sculpture is a challenge, and there is no absolute guarantee that I will succeed. The more complicated the shape, the more interesting I find it.’

A single piece can take anything from a few hours to several days to complete.

‘The process of carving sculptures, for me, is like meditation. While working I listen to instrumental music; it helps me to concentrate and clears some space in my mind for inspiration. I have to work at night when the whole family is asleep, so there are no interruptions.’

Interestingly, Salavat had grown up in an artistic family but initially chose a different path. He is actually a lawyer and had been practicing law for more than 20 years when he was laid off in 2013. After a year of soul searching, he decided to go back to his childhood hobby: carving.

‘At school, I really liked carving sculptures out of wood and chalk. I liked to carve animals and portraits of ancient heroes. In early 2015 I returned to the forgotten passion and discovered a new material: pencil graphite rods.’

Salavat’s micro sculptures have been exhibited in London, Singapore, LA, Sharjah, and Saint Petersburg. Using magnifying glasses, visitors are able to fully appreciate the intricate detailing of his mini-masterpieces. On his Instagram account, you can actually watch him work – he often posts time-lapse videos. @salavat.fidai

Streetlife

British street artist Slinkachu has been doing miniature street installations since 2006. At the time, he (Stuart Pantoll is his real name) had a full-time job at an ad agency but wasn’t feeling creatively fulfilled by his day job. So he decided to take on a side project, a series now known as Little People. ‘I had the idea to leave miniature train set figures around London for people to discover, as a way of encouraging interaction with the city,’ he writes. ‘When people think of urban art they often think of graffiti, but I hope that my work will make you rethink what is possible.’

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FAIRLADYView All

How to Survive the Feast-Or Famine Cycle

It’s empowering to have more than one income stream, but there is a downside: it’s easy to splurge when money is plentiful, but what about the lean months? Three self-starters share their tips for keeping an even keel through good and bad.

6 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Kaley's Comet

Kaley Cuoco was so beguiling as Penny on The Big Bang Theory that she soon became one of the highest paid actors in television. With HBO’s comedic thriller series The Flight Attendant, she entered exciting, slightly sinister new territory – but it proved her range as an actress and cemented her broad-based appeal.

7 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Let the Music Play

My dad died days before the global lockdown. While I was trapped within four walls, music and dancing gave me reason to smile again.

7 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

How to Make Your Own Luck

Luck isn’t easy to measure or study, but those who have managed to do it discovered it’s not the work of fate – it’s a skill you can cultivate and improve. So, how do you go about it?

8 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Local Flavour

Stocking up your pantry? These artisanal foods are guaranteed to ignite the senses of home chefs everywhere. Meet the foodies behind two of South Africa’s tastiest brands.

7 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

The Comfort of Ritual

Rituals imbue our lives with depth and meaning. And in times of uncertainty, they are even more important because they create a sense of grounding.

8 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Get Your Shine Back!

When the last of the summer heat is over, it’s important to take time to reverse any hair damage caused by sun and sea water.

5 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

The Rise of the Personal Shopper

It’s not a new concept, but the number of people who make a living from sourcing goods on behalf of clients is on the rise. We talked to three personal shoppers to find out what it takes.

7 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

Back to the Wild

Imagine camping in the Little Karoo… a billion stars above you, the ancient desert beneath, the insistent flapping of your canvas tent in the cold night air. Then banish all the rustic images this conjures up – because Dwyka Tented Lodge will confound all your expectations.

6 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022

A Good (Mo) Hair Day

"Beauty Mokgwamme had other dreams, but circumstances took her exactly where she was meant to be."

3 mins read
Fairlady
March/April 2022
RELATED STORIES

Dear Carol

BAD GUY? I started working at a beach club, and I was completely lonely until a boy started talking to me because we both like the same video game.

10 mins read
Girls' Life magazine
June/July 2022

A PHOENIX RISING

SALICE ROSE TURNED TO SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN SHE WAS AT HER LOWEST. IN DOING SO, SHE FOUND HER TRUE CALLING

6 mins read
Inked
Summer 2022

FIND YOUR *THING*

Here's our guide to identifying your passion...and finding your purpose in the process.

4 mins read
Girls' Life magazine
June/July 2022

Smells Like Success

How a passion for candles turned into a flourishing small business

2 mins read
Cottages and Bungalows
June - July 2022

CHILD ABUSE

Myths and Realizations from a Child Crime Investigator By John Truman

10+ mins read
OFFGRID
Issue 49

INSTAGRAM ADDS FUNDRAISING TO REELS TO HELP NONPROFITS

Meta Platforms Inc., the social media giant formerly known as Facebook, plans to celebrate Earth Day by expanding its offering of fundraising tools and making them more easily available to 1.5 million nonprofits on its Facebook and Instagram platforms, including those involved in fighting climate change.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 22, 2022

It's Gnudi Time

ITALIAN AMERICAN INSTAGRAM STAR DAN PELOSIKNOWN TO HIS FOLLOWERS AS GROSSY PELOSI-SERVES UP A FRESH TAKE ON RICOTTA DUMPLINGS.

2 mins read
Delish
Issue 5, 2022

Beautiful Beads

These Native American artists are reimagining traditional beaded jewelry and introducing a new generation to Indigenous art.

2 mins read
Pioneer Woman
Spring 2022

A Lover and a Mother

At 96cm tall, Jade is proud of her p non-binary partner and is expecting baby No 2

5 mins read
YOU South Africa
21 April 2022

It's Not About the Shape

“Action Hiro” Landazuri shares his Body Smart Yoga, focusing on muscle sensations and effort over the endgame of a pose.

10+ mins read
Yoga Journal
Spring 2022