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The Spinoff Looks at Ghostcat’s Miniature Landmarks

Visual Arts

The Spinoff’s Alex Casey visits the studio of Mike Beer, aka Ghost Cat, the Ōtautahi artist bring pre-quake icons back to life – with one small difference. 

In a suitably tiny New Brighton studio behind a suitably magical secret bookshelf door, a Christchurch rebuild of a very different kind is taking place. “I mean just look at this” Mike Beer, aka Ghost Cat, booms excitedly while peering into the front window of the Atami Bath House. “We had a bright pink brothel! How random is that?” Inside the Atami, a weak orange light flickers, illuminating the carpeted stairs to the mysterious second floor. Outside, the stained glass window is adorned with a near microscopic blue and white Armourguard security sticker.

Along with roughly 10,000 other Christchurch buildings, the real Atami Bath House on Tuam Street was demolished following the catastrophic Christchurch earthquake in February, 2011. Over a decade on, scratch build artist Beer is working to recreate the Atami, and nine more iconic buildings from pre-quake Christchurch, in miniature. Standing just 25cm high, the small scale creations still appear to delight Beer – even after eyeballing their finest and most frustrating details for weeks on end.

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