Raphael Truffi Bortholuzzi reached a point in his career where he needed to recycle and innovate as an artist. Doing work with digital 3D technology to manipulate his images had become nothing more than a routine and it was then when he came up with the idea to create miniature reproductions that respected the original scale and essence of their real models. It began primarily as a hobby, but the beauty Raphael found in those delicate and richly detailed worlds captured him. His choice for this medium was driven by the possibility to express more life and realism in comparison to digital work. “A miniature scenario can bring you much more engagement than just a photo,” he says.
Raphael explains that understanding how the scaling process works was difficult at the beginning because he assumed that reducing the size of things would be enough, but the scale measurement process is extremely important if one wants to achieve the maximum level of realism possible. If a miniature work is off scale, the human eye will automatically interpret it as something out of the ordinary. Due to the lack of specific courses on the subject, Raphael had to learn and study on his own. The only way to learn was to observe other artists with more knowledge and with whom he could exchange information. The way to acquiring his own technique was paved with mistakes and failed attempts, but seeing a project take life in a physical way is very rewarding for him.
Raphael falls in love with his work every time he imitates real life in such small proportions. Additionally, this type of art has a highly therapeutic effect on him. Raphael was born in Brazil in 1981 but he moved to London, where he grew as a person and as a professional, at the age of 17. He has an academic background in design and cinema, and a 20-year-long career in the film industry. Since 2010 Raphael has been acting a miniaturist. What started as a hobby, has become a profession and a full-time job through his company Grandmondo Miniatures. Always giving his life and soul to every job, Raphael enables his viewers to create the plot.
He tries to avoid using human figures or anything of the sort, letting viewers identify themselves with the scenario so that they can create their own characters in each environment. His intent is to give the details of objects, such as a flashing lamp, a semi-open door, or something abandoned, for viewers to build a narrative and create a storyline. “In some cases, I just want to accurately reproduce and replicate in scale some classic movie scene, an environment, or an object I enjoy. But I also use my imagination and recreate things I have observed or recorded with photographs. I build something with fragments of ideas and random references. For a commissioned job, I follow the rules of the client,” he says. Raphael is a very enthusiastic collector of antiques, just like his father. This factor helps him stay inspired. His work typically starts by spending extensive time looking for references, details, sketches, and drawings.
This process can take weeks, or even months, before beginning to cut or fix any structure. After an intensive search for what he wishes to create, he starts to plan a mockup out of cardboard, which allows him to visualize the structure in a three-dimensional format. Raphael then moves to the final construction, using the actual material he desires. The painting process goes hand in hand with the assembly process. In some cases, parts are painted before they are docked or glued. “It is very gratifying to see my work being recognized and admired by all. This inspires me continually, and it makes me very happy to know that I can pursue a new career by doing something this fun. I am very grateful to the b2zone Magazine for the opportunity to share a part of my story. Thank you very much.”