How to collect art when you’re a minimalist renter

miniatures, minimalism, art collector, 3d printing

True, collections can get out of hand. Collections can be a huge mess you leave behind. But collections can also make you appreciate art in a tactile way and they allow you to support the artists who made those pieces of artwork possible.
For a long time, I was window-shopping art galleries and antiquities shops. Sometimes, I found way too many beautiful objects. But I avoided to buy anything. Not because I was a scrooge or because I didn’t like the artwork enough, but because I was a renter. Moving from place to place is a hassle. Especially when you switch cities. And after a couple of moves, I remembered that hassle all too well. I managed to find an alternative for my huge collection of paperbacks: an ebook reader. I now read more than ever. But I never managed to find an alternative to visual artwork.
A partial one, yes and its name is Pinterest. But this was not enough for the two reasons I mentioned above: visual art can be experienced differently when you can also touch it. It’s the same with books – I read lots of ebooks, but I’ll still buy print books when I stumble upon a gem of a book. I also wanted to support artists so that I could somehow pay back the experience that they offered me by putting their soul into whatever they created.
When finally there was a solution for all that. It works even if you’re a renter or a minimalist or both. The solution is buying miniature art only and storing it in one easy-to-carry keepsake box.

keepsake box, miniatures, time capsule, yellow lotus

Yellow lotus watercolor keepsake box time capsule

The world of art is a big one and whatever passes as art is in the eye of the beholder. Having said that, the world of miniatures is full of niches just like the ‘normal’ art world. Just add the word ‘miniature’ in your favorite search engine followed by the keywords depicting your favorite art and/or topic.

Before you do that, here are a couple of types of miniatures:
-miniature sculpture
-miniature painting
-miniature dioramas and scale models
-dollhouses include lots of miniature furniture and other types of interior design objects
-miniature dolls or action figures
-miniature glassware
-miniature pottery
-miniature lapidary art where tiny gemstones are carved into all sorts of scintillating shapes
-miniature floral arrangements like Ikebana
-miniature origami
-miniature resin art
-miniature woodworking
-miniature textile arts like rugs, tapestry, doll clothes
-miniature 3D printing

When you’re looking for miniatures to buy, you’ll notice that the smaller the object, the higher the price. Some pieces of artwork are so tiny that they are created under the microscope! And this is where scales matter. You’ll find these art objects advertised with all sorts of scales ranging from 1:2 to 1:72 and so on. The second number shows the equivalent size of the miniature compared to the size of a normal object (1).

And since this blog focuses on one technique of bringing ideas to life – 3D printing – you can find many miniature objects on the major 3D printing platforms. And even if you don’t find what you’re looking for among those categories, you can always download a 3D model, modify it if it’s not already 3D printable and scale it down to the desired size in whatever 3D graphics software you use. On most platforms, you can scale a 3D model up and down without leaving that website e.g. Shapeways or iMaterialize.

If you know of any other type of miniature art, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Same if you have any tips on storing visual artwork while being a renter, especially as a digital nomad.

Leave a Reply