Tactile, Grace Statwick



Nightlight #6: The Power Plant
Luan, joint compound, plaster, paint, foam, lights, tree

“Nightlight #6: The Power Plant” is the sixth miniature set I have built. Like all of my miniatures, it features a lighting effect and is meant to be used as an  elaborate nightlight. The exterior is based on the Market Street power plant in New Orleans, derelict and partially submerged since 1973. Some of the graffiti is inspired by actual photos of that location. Meanwhile, the interior of the miniature features a glowing tree growing out of a miniature landscape. Besides being an elaborate visual pun, The Power Plant is an opportunity to dream and to explore with eyes and fingertips.

This project has been on my mind for the past year and has taken a great deal of care to realize. I began by mocking up forms with white foamcore and playing with scale. I wanted a building that instantly read as having history, and I wanted to bring the outdoors inside to flip audience expectations and to create a tiny, hidden world, only accessible to the eye. For context, I found information about the Market Street power plant while doing visual research on “beautiful factories” and grew curious about the slated possibility of it being developed into a Bass Pro Shops in the future. Especially since I spent two years building Bass Pro Shops’ life-size fake waterfalls and trees, I thought it would be ironic to put my own twist on the hunting goods stores’ immersive habitats.

After assembling the facade and applying a thin layer of joint compound to disguise its texture, I painted and aged the piece using theatrical techniques. I added graffiti, assembled the interior landscape, and then cut all the windows from two sheets of thin acrylic (I added the texture to the windows with a ball-point pen). For me, miniatures are instantly magical, and make dreamers and giants of us all. I leave the interpretation of this piece up to you — how does it make you feel?

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