Fan of Hong Kong films makes replica of old Kowloon building sight unseen, using Google Maps
Australian artist Joshua Smith, who has never been to Hong Kong, created a 1:20 scale model of decrepit 23 Temple Street, complete with peeling paint, posters, graffiti, laundry on poles and a shrine
Australian artist Joshua Smith has watched Hong Kong films and wandered the streets through Google Maps, and now his doll’s-house-sized replica of a dilapidated Yau Ma Tei building has attracted attention he’s planning his first trip to the city.
Smith wants to create more Kowloon replicas to be shown at a Hong Kong gallery, after winning fans with his model of 23 Temple Street, complete with peeling paint, old posters and a tiny shrine with incense.
The model, which was shown this month at the Volta Art Fair in New York, was made using wood, cardboard, plastic card, chalk, spray paint, wire and modelling plastic. It took Smith three months working between eight and 16 hours, six or seven days a week, to finish the model.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Hong Kong cinema ever since I was a child, so the landscape of Hong Kong has always appealed to me,” he told SCMP.com.
Smith stumbled upon 23 Temple Street while exploring the backstreets of Kowloon on Google Maps, and was drawn to the advertising and awnings.
“One of the most difficult parts was guessing what the interiors might be like. I spent countless hours researching interiors of apartments like this in Hong Kong, especially in the Kowloon area.”
“I think it is the grime and layering of old buildings that give them so much history and character, and that is what I’m drawn to.”
Check out more of Smith’s work on his Instagram page, or at iknowjoshuasmith.com