SAN ANTONIO — There's a San Antonio artist that creates scale model "miniature art," like a paleta cart that can fit in the palm of your hand.
"It's just like any other art -- there's things you're going to be meticulous about. But, this is truly trying to recreate something that is obviously life-sized down to a scale," said artist Steven Cromwell.
Cromwell is an artist and a teacher whose work is in the McNay. He showcases the magic of San Antonio, detailing its history of businesses and culture.
He does that in the form of miniature art. But, don’t be fooled by the word, because he tells a large story.
"We take those places for granted after a while because we see them every day. But to me, there's stories hidden there. Not just my personal experiences, but there's also the stories of those families that took a chance to start that small business," said Cromwell.
We’ve all seen the paleta carts pushed around town. And the detail of the carts is something Cromwell takes pride in.
"Just trying to hand paint all of those little bolts that were actually on the wheel. You want that little detail -- that small detail can make or break a piece," said Cromwell.
But the piece that ignited this whole journey is was an A-frame Whataburger he built.
He made it in honor of his friend, Henry, another artist who passed away. He knew Henry would have loved it, and it inspired him to work the long hour days to finish it. He also told KENS 5 he owes a "thank you" to his buddy, David Bayon, who also pushed him to create the passion project.
"That one piece has led to everything else that I have planned and I have moving forward that’s 'Everything 210,'" said Cromwell.
Cromwell even let KENS 5 in on a secret project he's been working on -- the San Antonio Selena boutique. He hopes it gets the attention of Selena fans everywhere.
And it’s through these sort of projects that the McNay knew they wanted his work in their museum.
"It's just really incredible that Steven had this body of work that celebrates family owned San Antonio businesses. Everything Steven makes I feel is almost is in tribute to those special places," said Edward Hayes, Exhibition Senior Manger and Registrar/Curator of Exhibition.
His work is to the left of the museum entrance along with other local artists. But for Cromwell, it’s truly been a dream come true.
"I'm still building models like I did when I was a kid. But now things have changed drastically. And now it's not about building something just to keep it on display. It's truly in an effort to share stories that are truly 210," said Cromwell.
He even brought "KENS 5" to life:
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