Art is created to captivate the mind and the soul. Art is supposed to take the viewer through a journey into the minds and hearts of the artists. Art is meant to take an individual through a personal journey by stimulating our emotions and fascination. Michael Garman’s Magic Town gallery, located in Colorado Springs, depicts a scaled down version of a grimy and lively neighborhood in a big city in the 1930s. Michael Garman’s Magic Town is a miniature city neighborhood brought to life by sculptures of people, detailed buildings, holograms, and auditory stimulation. Magic Town is truly an original idea and is an extremely detailed art experience that tells a story of both hope and hopelessness for the people living in a city of yesteryear. Michael Garman’s Magic Town experience is an art form worth experiencing that evokes human emotion through realism and detailed depictions of a city of the past as well as the cities of today.
When evaluating a realism gallery such as Michael Garman’s Magic Town there are four important criteria to consider when judging whether or not a gallery such as Magic Town will stand the test of time. First of all, the realism gallery must be detail oriented. An experience like this must be an experience that people will not only pay to see but will spend a good amount of time captivated with the details, which leads to the second criteria for evaluation: Realism. If a customer wants to enjoy a gallery meant to be a scaled-down version of something real, the customer has to be convinced that the experience is actually emblematic of what it claims to be. The scaled-down city section must be convincing and realistic in order to evoke emotion. Emotion, the third criteria for evaluation, must be conjured in order to draw more viewers in. Lastly, the art experience should make a statement that is clear, such as optimism in a seemingly bleak situation. Accompanied by details, realism, and culturally-specific artistic expression, the statement of the gallery is an important criterion for evaluation. While not all viewers will draw the same closing conclusion regarding the experience, the story of the gallery should express a statement.
One must judge the level of detail and intricacies of the realism gallery before concluding that it is a viewing experience of notable worth. It is clear that Michael Garman and his production team paid extremely close attention to every detail. The figurines in the city display expressions of various human emotions. Through their stance, facial expressions, clothing, and even the movement of the holograms, each figurine tells a story about life. It is also evident that the figurines represent various characters that the artist has encountered throughout his life, and each figurine is expressive of the characteristics of the stark and complex city in which they live. It is not only the details of the figurines and the holograms that make the experience detailed and exceptional. From the writings on the marquee of the movie theatre to the leaves of the trees and the bricks on the buildings, the details are extremely important and make this realism gallery an experience of notable worth.
In addition to the importance of detail in an art experience meant to portray the lived experiences of people, the sights and the sounds of the experience should be realistic and captivating enough to pull the viewer into the atmosphere and feel as if they themselves are in the city. The music of Magic Town suggests a 1930s feel and the interactive conversations that the city dwellers are having make the figurines and the characters relatable. The speaking holograms and the changing scenes in the windows bring the miniature city to life. The bums warming their hands from a trashcan fire in the back alley while the retail shop workers go about their business reminds the viewers of the ‘show must go on’ mentality that is a representative trait of any big city. An art gallery such as this doesn’t necessarily have to look real in every detail, but the captivating aspects of the experience must be a real enough portrayal to convince the viewers that this is representative of something very existent indeed. From the crowdedness to the trash in the street to the feelings of hope and despair on the expressions of the figurines, the representation is realistic enough to evoke emotional response, contributing to the meaning of Magic Town.
Additionally, this portrayal of the gritty and complex city neighborhood of the late 1930s, while very detailed and realistic, evokes a multitude of emotions. While the viewer might be appalled at some of the living conditions, they can easily look around the corner and feel joy while seeing two teenagers kiss in the alleyway. The gallery evokes both sadness and hope. We realize that people actually have to live this way, and many of us see these living conditions in our every day lives but choose to ignore them or to not think about them. A realism gallery such as Magic Town needs to be able to capture the mundane and make it realized; it needs to be able to capture a depiction of a world often seen but under acknowledged. Magic Town does just that, and evokes emotions that are either hidden or ignored in every day life relating to the city.
Lastly, Magic Town clearly aims to represent the ‘ugly beauty’ specific to cities. We must realize that poverty doesn’t necessarily mean unhappiness or discontent. However, the representation is meant to evoke an acknowledgement from viewers: that poverty is not always chosen but there remains happiness in even the most dire of circumstances. While there is commerce there is poverty. While there is crowdedness there is loneliness. The lives of people living in a grimy and crowded neighborhood of a large city are as gritty and multifarious as the neighborhood itself. Magic Town suggests this social commentary.
Michael Garman’s Magic Town is a realism gallery that is highly detailed, realistic, evokes emotion, and makes a statement about life in the city. From the details of the figurines and the livelihood of the interactive experience to the social commentary and the emotional rollercoaster, Magic Town is a great representation of what an art gallery meant to portray something tangible should be. I would highly recommend Michael Garman’s Magic Town to anyone wishing to experience a unique and fascinating depiction of the world in which we live.