Tiny, Sentimental Portraits Turn Matchbooks Into Canvases
Though various simple technologies have made them somewhat obsolete, matchbooks are still very much a part of life, and our interactions with them are strangely intimate—the memory of a certain restaurant, the phone number of a forgotten acquaintance, the sight of a single, lonely match remaining in the book. Artist Krista Charles takes this sentimentality a step further by using the matchbook not only as a medium, but as inspiration for her art. Her collection is titled Matchbook Landscapes.
Pulling old matchbooks from her own personal collection, Charles tracks down the addresses of the businesses who printed them and then uses Google Street View images as templates for the tiny sketches she draws on the inside flap of each book, along with a little note about the state of the same location today. Whether the businesses still exist or not, the matchbooks become a canvas for Charles’ intricate illustrations of what remains standing.
While most matchbooks serve as an advertising medium coupled with a convenient source of flame, these matchbooks combine design and historical value, becoming a testament to the changing history of places. Call it palm-sized preserved art. Here’s what Charles had to say about her work:
“With Matchbook Landscapes, I combined my love for art, antiques and travel through my collections of matchboxes. For each, I found the location of the business on Google Maps. Inside the cover, I draw in pencil what is there at this time (fingers crossed that Google has brought me to the right place). Each design usually takes two hours. I spend more time in these places digitally than if I had gone in person. The trip thus leaves a trace, even if only a virtual one.”