Marina Totino Creates Beyond Video: The Endless Miniature Video Store of Your Dreams [INTERVIEW]
Interview with Marina Totino by Ted Gilbert
Video store nostalgia has been hitting a high note in the last few years. The Last Blockbuster arguably led the way by reminding Americans that video stores still exist, and rekindling our collective cultural love affair with them.
Well, how about a video store that fits on your mantle, or even better: a VHSpecial little place on your video shelf? We've previously praised the radical rewind-inclined miniature work of GLAZY UK, and Melissa Kay’s utterly amazing MK Video, but recently the work of Marina Totino caught our Videovore eye, and we couldn’t resist VHSharing it with you. Behold, Beyond Video…
Not to be confused with the real life video store called Beyond Video in Baltimore, MD, Marina's surreal video store is all about the details. From its lovingly weathered signage, and stray flyers, to the hand painted graffiti, and sculpted brick walls, it creates the impression that the store has a life and history all its own. You can even flick on the lights for an extra VHSurprise: peer inside to gaze upon the endless video store of your dreams!
Marina was kind enough to take time out of her day to tell us a little more about her incredible rewind-inclined creation and the process behind it.
Lunchmeat: Your miniatures demonstrate such striking attention to detail and they're often framed through interesting perspectives. Can you say a little about your creative background; how did you come into mini-sculpting?
Marina: I studied film production throughout college and university, and have worked professionally in the film industry for 5 years. I've always been fascinated with Surrealism and liminality, but oftentimes I would have trouble finding the right spaces to shoot. So I began creating spaces of my own that no one else could get to. I love creating spaces that don't exist, but feel as though someone may have just left them. We're all on the outside looking in on my own little world, I guess you could say.
What inspired you to create a video store? Is it based on any real world location or experience?
The video store isn't based on any real place, as none of my original pieces are. But it was definitely inspired by an experience. Going to the video store was one of my favourite activities while growing up in the 90's. I remember biking there on Friday nights after school, even if I didn't have enough money in my pocket for anything. I loved browsing the titles. I loved everything about it. The clerks were always pretentious jerks, and that made it all the more valuable to me. The reason I decided to make the mini video store endless on the inside was because I never wanted it to end. I wish it could go on forever. I wish I could get lost in its isles again. Life felt a little more magical back then, you know? There was something in the air that I find is missing today...
Can you share some of your process for creating it? What materials did you use? How long did it take?
When I first started building, my initial plan was to just make the store front, and frame the rest inside of a shadowbox. But once I built the interior, I noticed that it started taking the shape of a small building, so I scrapped the first idea, and gave myself extra time to build all the way around without having a plan. I winged it around the building and hoped for the best.
Picking the films was the hardest part, as I only wanted movies made before the 2000's. That way I could make them VHS tapes. But I later convinced myself that there were some really great movies that came out of the last 20 years, so I changed my mind and incorporated movies from all genres, all mediums, and all decades. This wasn't a real place, of course. So I let my imagination run free.
I used a variety of materials to build; balsa wood, styrene plastic, foam boards, LED lights, mirrors etc. In total, it ended up taking me about a month and a half to complete, and I poured my soul into it. I spent hours on end hunched over my desk like a gargoyle. My fingers were constantly covered in dried up super glue, and there were little bits of paper all over the place for weeks. Alongside listening to some heavy music while building, I also rewatched both Clerks 1 & 2, and They Live, and I actually added tiny "Mooby's" and "They Live" slap stickers on the back end of the building as little easter eggs for myself.
What size is the finished piece?
People often ask me what scale the piece is, however I didn't scale it. If I had to guess, I'd say it would be close to 1/12th, but I always go by eye. One of the clerks at my local hobby shop actually got upset with me when I told him that. [Laughs] The finished piece is 10 inches wide, 8 inches high, and 5 inches deep.
A lot of your miniatures seem to be inspired by retro/nostalgic themes (I noticed VHS tapes were even prominently featured in your TV Room piece!). What do you think is so appealing about these settings and objects as subjects for your art?
I'm in love with the retro/nostalgic aesthetic. It may be due to the fact that I never want to grow up. I want to attach myself to my inner child and never let go. I want to unlock all of the core memories from the 80's and 90's and immortalize them into tiny little art pieces. I stuck a few classic VHS horror films in my TV VHS box to fit the style of the room, and to showcase my deep appreciation for on-screen practical FX.
Are you currently planning/working on any projects you'd like to share with our readers?
I'm in the works of creating smaller movie based pieces, however I may be starting on a fairly large commission piece soon that I unfortunately can't disclose yet. :)
We’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled, Marina! And you can, too, by visiting her official website. Totino’s mini video store creation has since gone viral on TikTok with over 3 Million much-deserved views. Her work is incredible indeed, but that massive amount of viewership seems to VHSolidify that love for video stores is just as strong as ever, and hopefully this tribute reminds people that video stores were magical places, and incredibly, they still exist, both in our minds eye and in the brick and mortar of the real world.