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Even more than the iconic hobo nickels, matchbooks will forever be a part of the American consciousness and a throwback to the past. British contemporary artist Aaron Kasmin is taking those tiny billboards and turning them into full-size works of art painstakingly recreated as pencil drawings for the show Up in Smoke at the Sims Reed Gallery in London. The exhibition includes a total of 28 new drawings focusing on matchbooks that run the gamut from a saucy Bottoms Up piece that was clearly for a bar and a seriously dapper group of gentlemen originally made for Simpsons Clothes. Why recreate matchbooks as fine art? In the artist’s words, “The matchbooks are small, ephemeral and almost forgotten; the ingenuity of the imagery in what must be the golden age of graphic design is here in minute form.” Kasmin’s work celebrates the glitz and glamour of the era while also paying homage to the unnamed creators of the originals. Aaron Kasmin: Up in Smoke will be on display at the Sims Reed Gallery until June 9.

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