By Katy Cowan
Chicago-based artist Ryan Thomas Monahan has a thing for buildings. He spends months of his time painstakingly crafting the most intricate model sculptures of porn shops, off licences, churches and convenience stores. Every detail you could possibly imagine is considered – from overflowing rubbish bins and wall-strewn graffiti to signage and lighting.
Although all of his pieces are entirely fictional, he does begin each one with hours of research, sketching and planning. He’ll take inspiration from hundreds of photographs of buildings that he’s collected over the years.
Using a wide variety of materials include foam, paper, plastic and lightweight wood – Ryan also loves to scavenge litter found on his walks around Chicago, which he then repurposes for his artworks.
He explains more of his process: “Once I develop a good direction, I begin to mock things up and plan the structural supports for what will eventually become the building facade. From there I just ping pong around a bunch until I start to flesh out the sculpture, adding detail and textures as I go.
“Once the overall piece is put together I start to massage it a bit, adding and removing things to get the desired look and feel that I’m after. This part can make or break it, since most of the narrative of the sculpture comes from this process.”
Via This Isn’t Happiness | All images courtesy of Ryan Thomas Monahan