Light Miniatures

Never be afraid to paint outside the lines

Month: February 2015

From the workbench: “2084”, part 2

Yes, that’s a 10mm tall portrait of Edward Snowden.


I imagine Lisbeth inhabiting a dystopian future with constant worldwide surveillance. I decided to cover the concrete blocks she’s flying over with graffiti protesting that situation.  The front says “Snowden ‘never forget'”, “You call this democracy?” and “The NSA is watching.”


On the back you can read “Always use Tor” (with the Tor logo), “Don’t drone me bro,” and “xfmro77i3lixucja.onion,” which is an onion address for the Imperial Library of Trantor. In addition to being a reference to Asimov’s Foundation series, the Library of Trantor is an online collection of DRM-free digital books. (I really wanted to use an address for Wikileaks instead, but sadly they don’t seem to have a functional onion address right now.)

This graffiti was partially inspired by the graffiti Turkish citizens used to evade the DNS block Turkey placed on Twitter last spring. I imagine citizens in a future Orwellian society using Tor to keep websites up and available despite state attempts to take them down, and using graffiti to tell each other how to access them.


The sign says, “No privacy by order of the National Surveillance Agency”. Originally I painted the sign as “No entry by order of the National Security Agency”, and then painted over “entry” and “Security” as if someone had graffitied over an official sign.


The portrait of Snowden was the most time-consuming part of the graffiti. I copied Laura Poitras’ well-known portrait of the whistleblower. (Used under CC-BY license.)


I think I made a pretty good likeness, although when I put them side-by-side like this, I see a few details I need to fix.


Parachute pants!

I’m super excited about my current project, which will be titled “2084” for reasons which shall soon become apparent. The figure is Lisbeth, by Studio McVey. This is the second time I’ve painted this figure. She’s a total kick to paint—I love the gigantic parachute pants, and there are lots of surfaces which just scream for freehand. Plus, I gave my first copy away, so I wanted a second to keep.



Starting with the prep work. My cast had a bit of an offset running between the folds in her pants, which was a bit of a pain to clean up.



I also decided to do some minor conversion work. Lisbeth comes with a backless tube-top-like-thing which I don’t much like, so I turned it into a full (if short) shirt. I also reshaped her hover-board into something a bit more snowboard and less surfboard.



I added a sign to the base, and started penciling in the graffiti I plan to paint. I smudged some of it with my thumb, but the face you see if going to be a portrait of a guy with a goatee and glasses.






The red is a lot more vibrant than it looks in these photos. I’ll try to come up with some better ones, later.



Old concrete usually has different colored stains, which I’ve tried to simulate here. It won’t be terribly visible once the graffiti is added, but will help the whole thing be a bit more realistic.




At this point you can probably guess who the portrait is, and why the title is “2084”.

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