Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Drew Leshko's Philadelphia

[A collage of pieces from Drew Leshko's show in Wilmington, Delaware; sourced from Instagram.]

There was some commentary in the recent Branch Line Station post about whether maturing hipsters might embrace a Moorian approach to model railroading and model building. It’s an interesting question, but questions of hipster identification aside, I came across the work of Drew Leshko at Flavorwire a little while ago and was impressed by his approach to representing the buildings of a disappearing Philadelphia. Based on a superficial viewing, one might be tempted to cast the effort into another instance of today’s hipsterdom; however, I prefer not to, and instead look at the work itself. It’s good. An excellent blending of detail and feeling. I particularly like how he’s focused on the façade in many of his pieces, and has presented them as one would present paintings: hangable on a wall. This, along with their large scale, makes them accessible and purchasable for many people. It’s a great idea. It’s true that there’s no model railroading here, but his work did remind me of Jim Shiff's N-scale NYC, auto-operating subway layout/diorama that appeared in an article called City on a Shelf in the February '73 issue of Railroad Modeler. It was a 3 level - El on top of a road on top of a subway - 48 inch wide by 6 inch deep fully operating layout inspired by the movie The French Connection. It's quite interesting, and if you can find the issue, I'd recommend reading the article.

[The centre portion of Mr. Shiff's layout from the Feb. '73 issue of Railroad Modeler]

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