Drew Leshko’s miniature art has caught our attention thanks to its distinct features. Unlike more traditional miniature art which is more or less a meticulously made dollhouse, made for adult collectors, Leshko’s work documents his urban environment, recreating the grittier aspects of modern living. These miniature recreations include buildings that are in a state of decay or on the cusp of redevelopment, with added details like graffiti and grime.
Based in Philadelphia, Leshko’s art has drawn crowds both locally and internationally, and is included in the permanent collection of the Urban Nation Museum (Berlin), the Dean Collection (NYC), the West Collection (Philadelphia), and many private collections throughout the world.
A seasoned creator, Leshko has been making small sculptures since 2005 when he finished school at West Chester University. “I like to tell people that they’re typical 90-95% paper, but in the end they are mixed media sculptures,” he shared in an interview with Create! Magazine.
Working from observation and photographs, Leshko’s work is a three-dimensional study of the architecture in his neighborhood, recreating building facades at a 1:12 scale. “I work from photographs and scale my sculpture with simple math equations,” he further explained. “I typically only use the reference image for roughly the first half of the process. After that point, I discard the image and work from memory.”
According to Leshko, working from memory is a strategic move he likes to equate to seeing something in person. “You only remember so many details and your memory makes mistakes, so in some ways you are mentally rebuilding an experience in the same way I’m constructing my sculptures,” he adds. “This also allows me to be less strict and more creative.”
Subjects have included a local deli, his grandfather’s 80s camper, iceboxes, and even dumpsters. “I’m always experimenting and trying new techniques, but I don’t set aside time to do so,” says Leshko. “Everything is a learning experience and sometimes pieces just don’t work out successfully.” But more often than not, the result is awe striking.