How This Recluse Went from Bullied Kid to Internet Art Sensation

By Michael Hession on at

Elgin Park is miniature city created and photographed by artist Michael Paul Smith. In a short documentary directed by Danny Yourd, Smith explains how his miniature street scenes went from a nostalgic personal project, to a viral hit online.

Scenes from the fictional Elgin Park, which exists in a fantasy version of the 1950s, have made their way across the internet over the last couple of years. The miniatures offer captivating illusions, and showcase Smith's astounding attention to detail involved in their creation. But few know why Smith built the tiny town. This internet art celebrity overcame a lot, thanks in part to his 25-year obsession with Elgin Park.

Smith, who is gay, was bullied throughout his childhood. He has since led a guarded, almost reclusive life that has involved depression and multiple suicide attempts. In recent years, the recognition Smith has received for Elgin Park has imbued him with a newfound sense of purpose. He has persevered in realising that his work has touched people. That's a great development in his life, and the documentary is testament to Smith's positive outlook. And his amazing work.