From little things, big things grow

Pic of David Hourigan with his mini models. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 208272_01

Tate Papworth

The inner-west boasts a colourful history, much of which can be seen on the many quirky old buildings that have stood the test of time.

But as the area evolves, those buildings are becoming fewer in number.

Luckily, a Yarraville artist is on a mission to preserve as many as he can by creating miniature versions of them.

David Hourigan has been re-creating the landmarks in his workshop on a full-time basis for 18 months and said the spark came to him randomly.

“I used to build model kits as a kid, then one day I thought… why building a model spitfire when I’ve never flown one,” he said.

“So I wanted make things that have relevance to me.

“It started off when I’d walk around my streets and come across a cool building.”

From there Hourigan set to work.

“I start to take a lot of pictures of the building, I do lots of sketches and measure it all up,” he said.

“Then I come back to the studio and scale it to a size that works for me.”

The buildings recreated by Hourigan are by no means grand.

The Yarraville Racing Pigeon Club, the Switch House in Station Road in Seddon and the Olympic Doughnuts van that was at Footscray station had all seen better days, but that’s what makes them interesting to Hourigan .

“Most of my work is small, insignificant, decrepit buildings… I’m trying to capture them before they’re all gone,” he said.

“It’s important to remember where we come from.”

The process takes three to five weeks and Hourigan builds every component from scratch with painstaking detail.

“The pieces that take a lot of time are the things you don’t look at, like a water metre or an NBN box bolted to wall.

“Details make it come alive – rusty pipes and bits and pieces give it personality and stop it being a boring chunk of wall.”

Hourigan recently held an exhibition where he sold a number of pieces, leaving him a little overwhelmed.

“The reaction to my work has been incredible… I guess nostalgia is part of it, but there’s also a sense of wanting to capture all this before it goes,” he said.

“I had 10 pieces at the exhibition in March and it was good to sell a few of them… I thought it would be incredibly difficult to part with them, but I’m running out of room in my workshop.”

With his popularity growing, Hourigan said he’s been inundated with suggestions for his next piece.

“There’s a massive list of possibilities and the list honestly keeps growing.

“I get lots of suggestions and I’ve got a few things in mind so we’ll have to wait and see.”

For more information visit the Instagram handle @davidhouriganartist.