Micro-Fiction: Tiny Worlds by Tatsuya Tanaka

Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Cliff
Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Cliff

 

Since I’m a writer, I’m hardly going to agree with that popular saw, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I’m also a photographer, though, and I’m aware that carefully crafted images can reveal stories much more quickly than words.

Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Rainy Days Never Stay Away.
Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Rainy Days Never Stay Away.

Artist Tatsuya Tanaka skillfully creates micro worlds out of everyday objects. Familiar items like books, magazines and desk accessories become fantastic backgrounds for dramatic quests by tiny figures.

Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Slanting Rain.
Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Slanting Rain.

 

Since 2011, Tatsuya Tanaka has worked on his miniature calendar, and shared his startling visions of a Lilliputian world daily.

Bookshelf

 

He recently gave an interview with designboom magazine.

Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Dive.
Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Dive.

 

 

DB: Are there particular themes or concepts that you are looking to express through this project?

TT: The theme is ‘the interest of likening one thing to another’. In doing so, you can see how everyday things can become more fun when imagined in a different way. It is important that the ‘miniature calendar’ is understandable in its intention for everyone – young and old, of any nationality. So, I try to use familiar things and address familiar matters.

Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Escalator.
Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Escalator.

 

DB: How do you go about generating ideas 365 days of the year for the calendar? Including titles for each piece?

TT: I often conceive ideas while working and carrying on with everyday life, so even though they are trivial matters when I conceive them, I am sure to make a note. I use the iPhone application ‘omnifocus’ which lets me quickly store my concepts. I sort these under categories like ‘practicable now’, ’necessary materials to put an idea into a practice’, ‘hints for ideas’ etc… and I decide what I will create next and what materials I will use by checking these memos.

Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Mountain Fold.
Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Mountain Fold.

 

DB: What is the most challenging aspect of creating your calendar dioramas?

TT: Posting works every single day, in itself is my challenge. I have been doing this since April 20th, 2011 so the project is now in its fifth year. Those who have seen my works all the way through to this point have a good eye, so creating ideas that exceed their expectations is also a challenge. After certain ideas are exhausted, I think there will always be more interesting ones.

Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Paper Sea.
Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Paper Sea.

 

DB: Could you speak a little bit about the material choices you make when crafting each diorama?

TT: I make a conscious effort to choose universal materials whose scale can be understood. For example, we can see the scale of vegetables or stationary; as opposed to unique toys or electric appliances whose dimensions are more difficult to understand. Without understanding the scope of the motif, the interest and intention of the idea decreases – so I pay attention to these matters. In collecting my materials, I make a conscious effort to keep things even though they might seem useless, such as clips for closing bread packaging, clothes tags, toilet paper rolls, ice lolly sticks and so on… because I don’t always know right away how they will be useful.

Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Ski.
Image Courtesy of Tatsuya Tanaka. Ski.
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