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But as Dreyfuss’ character from the film could see his destiny in the dinner plate, so could Matthew Albanese when he knocked a tub of spices onto the floor. “I knocked over a tub of paprika and I was kind of interested in the texture and the color and the smell and everything,” said Albanese. “It just made sense for me to use that, to start there.”
Paprika Mars was created from paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and charcoal.
Working in his self-built studio tucked into the back of his father’s New Jersey warehouse, Albanese employed his art-school education to shape a meticulously detailed relief of the Martian surface.
Scale models have been used in movies and television for decades, but not often ones constructed from found materials. Albanese’s results rival those of professional special effects studios, all performed without a team of artisans or expensive equipment.
Working as a freelancer, Albanese shoots architectural, aerial and merchandise photography. As a departure, Strange Worlds forces him to first create the object of focus. Creating planet surfaces and acts of nature from nothing is an immersive process. “I would have to lower my body and look at it from a different perspective,” said Albanese, “and focus on it and make some changes and lower my body again and look at it from another angle and see what I could change and try to imagine what it would be like standing there.” The New Jersey artist says each piece averages a month of work from start to finish. Conceptualization takes the most time, particularly the gathering of materials.