The Strange Worlds of Matthew Albanese

ABOUT matthew

Matthew Albanese’s fascination with film, special effects and movie magic—and the mechanics behind these illusions—began early. Born in northern New Jersey in 1983, Albanese spent a peripatetic childhood moving between New Jersey and upstate New York. An only child, Albanese enjoyed imaginative, solitary play. He loved miniatures and created scenarios intricately set with household objects and his extensive collection of action figures. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography at the State University of New York, Purchase, Albanese worked as a fashion photographer. In 2008, a spilled canister of paprika inspired him to create his first mini Mars landscape. More minute dioramas—made of spices, food and found objects—followed. In 2011, Albanese was invited to show at the Museum of Art and Design of New York. His work has also been exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Winkleman Gallery, and Muba, Tourcoing France. Matthew is represented at Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York

FOLLOW matthew




Hi Matthew! Are you writing from one of your “strange worlds”?

As a matter of fact I am! Right behind me is a huge cave I’m creating out of thread and candle wax (about 40 pounds of it in total). It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever made.

When and why did you start to create miniature scenarios?

When I was young I was obsessed with anything pertaining to “movie magic” or special effects. I was always more interested in how something was created rather than just seeing the final product. Miniatures were always what I found the most fascinating particularly how the methods used to film or shoot an object would effect ones perception of it.

 Is there a photographer or artist you would compare yourself to, or that inspired your work more than other?

There are several photographers that I might compare myself to because of how we work in the medium of “miniature” . I love James Casebere and Gregory Crewdson.

The worlds in your book come with a real periodic table, What do you think it adds to the image apart from the additional information?

In line with the concept they developed of Artist as Alchemist, the designer of my book created the table to serve as a chart of materials for people to follow.. Since my materials are so surprising and unusual most of the time I think it really added to the sense of wonder in context of my book.

Your work expresses the duality of the world, sometimes pieceful, sometimes violent. What part of your real life do you put in your fantasy landscapes?

I put everything in! The good, the bad and the ugly. Usually a concept will be bouncing around my head and at a certain point things happen in my life to me or other people that speak to whatever im dreaming up. The universe usually screams at me when its time to finally make it real.

“I have always believed that the world is what we make of it and I have pursued my dreams of being an artist with passion”

New Life

What do you want to trigger in the viewer?

Inspiration first and foremost. After that its up to the viewer. When someone can look at my work and be reminded of a part of themselves in any context I’m thrilled. I’m clearly obsessed with my work.

What is your favorite world you made? Why?

There in not any one specific piece that I can say is my favorite. There are visual challenges that I was totally psyched to solve such as the diffracted light rippling and dancing on the face of a coral reef used by projecting a black and white pattern of light with a video projector in “How To Breathe Underwater” or how to create the illusion of fireflies filling the night air in some mystical place by spattering phosphorescent ink onto sheets of clear acetate dropped between the trees in “My Dream, Your Nightmare”.

How to Breathe Underwater

How did you refine your technique through the years?

This was a natural progression. I take any tricks or design elements from a previous build and implement it into the next one which naturally leads to even newer ways of doing things that I then implement again. Methods become more and more simplified allowing me to build even more complex sets. I have also become less and less interested in absolute realism.

“When someone can look at my work and be reminded of a part of themselves in any context I’m thrilled.
I’m clearly obsessed with my work.”

Aurora Borealis

What’s next for you? Do you have any big plans for the future?

Im preparing for my first solo show in New York at the moment. All I can say for sure is that I plan on building even bigger. Pushing the boundaries of my materials and hopefully discovering new more hi-tech and sophisticated ones in the future. I have begun to invest in 3D Printing technology and I am actively approaching new work with this in mind.

Is there a world you created you’d like to live in?

I like this question because I never thought about it before. Yes I may build things I wish I could see like the surface of Mars, the Moon or the Northern lights, but live? Never thought about it. Maybe now I will have to make it! I have always believed that the world is what we make of it and I have pursued my dreams of being an artist with passion and I encourage everyone to create the world they want to live in.

My Dream, Your Nightmare



To buy Matthew’s book “Strange Worlds” follow this link