Artistic duo reimagine pet snails as humans living in miniature worlds

By Malavika Pradeep

Published Mar 30, 2022 at 01:13 PM

Reading time: 5 minutes

Remember the simpler times when we used to build LEGO castles and set up bedrooms for our Barbie dolls? In these miniature worlds, we made our own rules and often imagined ourselves living with other toys. Now, Chicago-based creative duo Aleia Murawski and Samuel Copeland are backed with a similar mission. But instead of dolls, the main characters in their world are lethargic souls with hard shells. Welcome to the ‘slimelight’—where snails plan hot dates, go on existential fishing trips, ride Harleys in Hawaii and even get abducted by aliens!

Inspired by dramas and movies, Murawski and Copeland create stunning sets for their pet snails which feature everything from white picket fences and bowling alleys to bubble baths and even teeny-tiny burnt-out cigarettes. Each miniature world tells a different story. Sometimes, the googly-eyed snails are seen living their best life as skateboarding high schoolers. Other settings feature them as stressed office workers who are mini victims of rampant commercialism. Oof, tough life.

Nevertheless, here are 20 incredible creations by the artistic duo that will make you believe that snails can live in this world just like us humans. Heck, they’re even better models than all of us combined:

1. Snails on a hot tub date

If you’ve ever played Sims 1, you’ll remember this iconic heart-shaped Niagara Love Tub where your characters could ‘Woohoo’. The video game once described the tub to feel like “the plunging and raging falls of the famous honeymoon spot… that brings out the untamed side of couples everywhere.” Looking at these snails, it’s safe to say that the caressing curve of the form-fitting seats are definitely capable of turning even the most uptight and lethargic creatures into indulgent beings.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

2. A night at the Burger Hut

This one gives me Riverdale’s Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe vibes with all the neon lights and bubblegum skies. Now, are we going to talk about Fred Andrew’s pickup truck in the parking lot or the fact that the main characters are sitting on hamburger seats with googly eyes?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

3. Back to school

What if the entire universe is just someone’s science project?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

4. Riding motorcycles off into the sunset

Creating miniature sets that are roughly the size of a shoebox, Murawski mostly repurposes random materials lying around in her studio for the props. She also incorporates items, including little pieces of plastic, that she collects on walks and drives. “If I find an object with a strange texture, I always keep it,” Murawski told The New York Times (NYT). Well, just look at the attention to detail in this miniature world below. It’s safe to say that the artistic duo snailed this one!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

5. Shopping at the mall

Oh, to be a snail with a pink boba shopping for fits at a local Fashion Bug.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

6. Having an existential crisis

Who said only humans can have existential crises? Meet Velveeta the snail, who’s currently stuck in the void between a place that she left behind and one she’s yet to find. We shell overcome this too, Velveeta!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

7. At a love hotel

Made with foam cores and felt carpeting, it is Murawski who builds the sets and Copeland who helps bring them to life. “Sam is really good at the engineering part because he’s very analytical,” Murawski told NYT. “He has a great eye for manipulating movement within a scene.” Here’s another heart-shaped bathtub as proof that the artists really have an eye for intricate details. Spoiler alert: these snails are out here getting more action than all of us.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

If you want to peek behind the scenes of this miniature world, I’ve got you covered. Hurry and cue the jazz music already:

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

8. The Sliming

Just going to leave this slimy recreation of The Shining here. Bonus points if you scroll to see the trailer Stanley Kubrick was too afraid to release at the time.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

9. At the carnival

Talking about the exquisite attention to detail in their work, Murawski shared: “It is a really fun challenge for us to come up with these scenes and to find different ways to execute it so it feels believable and lived in, despite its fabrication.” The artist also added how the process is rooted in play and experimentation. “We are always looking for new ways to construct different elements in a scene and trying varied techniques to create depth and motion in our work.” Well, this set makes me believe that snails should have their own amusement parks with merry-go-rounds and haunted mansions.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

10. Snail-ien abduction

This is what I call true art. Apologies—snart.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

11. At a birthday party

We’re trudged halfway through the list and if you still believe that making these miniature sets are a challenging task, wait till you hear what Murawski and Copeland have to say about directing their lethargic cast members. For starters, once the props are set up, the creative duo place cucumbers behind the objects to tease the snails into the right position on the set. “We have an idea of what we want them to do, but we still have to work on their schedule,” Murawski admitted. “It sounds silly, but it’s a true collaboration between us and the snails.” Quick! Make a wish before Velveeta and Francis blow out the candles.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

12. At the Snail Salon

Everyone deserves some self care in 2022. Here, Velveeta is ready to ✨rise and slime✨

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

13. “All the world’s a stage”

Murawski and Copeland have dedicated this one to the multidimensional performances of their pet snails “who are never really acting but briefly inhabiting tiny fabricated spaces, a stage, in which we [the audience] curiously and invisibly watch from the outside—projecting our dreams and desires, and then [become] no longer an audience but the snail in a world like our own.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

14. Life as a social media influencer

It’s official. This is Velveeta’s world and we’re just living in it.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

15. Snail… with a pet hamster

In an interview with It’s Nice That, Murawski acknowledged the pleasure of being able to see into a space that’s not your own. “Miniatures allow us to look closely and survey a private space in detail. They represent something back to us in a non-confrontational way,” she shared, adding how the artist loves making rooms that feel “nostalgic, romantic or banal but also have something foreboding or off-putting about them.” Well, if the mere thought of a snail having a pet hamster isn’t unsettling enough, I don’t know what is.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

16. On the sets of ‘Scary Movie’

Okay, forget what I said earlier about unsettling snail miniatures. I recommend scrolling through this post below to witness the slimy creature wield a knife. If you dare, that is.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

17. At the Snail Mart

In the same interview with It’s Nice That, Murawski admitted that she likes to think of snails as “tiny puppies with shells.” Well well well, this tiny-shelled puppy here seems to be anxiously waiting at the express checkout line for his mother—who appears to have left her child to go back and get something she forgot.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

18. Starring on ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

Gary the Snail, is that you?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

19. On an fishing trip

What if we could be two happy-go-lucky snails fishing away at a local pond while contemplating life under the neon skies?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

20. At a photo booth

Aimed to evoke playfulness, Murawski and Copeland’s work throws us into a space that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. The scene appears eerily relatable, yet feels like we’re peeking into a dystopian world—where humans have been extinct for years and only their objects and mollusks remain. The Earth is a snail kingdom now, and these creatures are here to remind us of our capacity to find love in all places.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by aleia (@aleia)

Keep On Reading

By Abby Amoakuh

Who is Courtney Clenney, the OnlyFans model accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death?

By Abby Amoakuh

Bobbi Althoff thrown out of Drake’s SXSW party attending uninvited reignites affair rumours

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Netizens are mad about Greta Gerwig’s Barbie gaining 9 Golden Globe nominations 

By Abby Amoakuh

Father of man who died after climbing into airplane engine reveals why he thinks he did it

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Are Drake and Camila Cabello dating or is a collaboration on the horizon? Let’s look at the facts

By Alma Fabiani

All the terrifying AI videos made using OpenAI’s Sora so far

By Abby Amoakuh

What is girl therapy? The TikTok trend disguising middle-class consumerism as self-care to Gen Z

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Natalia Grace launches GoFundMe following explosive docuseries revealing her true age

By Abby Amoakuh

Is football apolitical? Here is how FIFA and the UEFA are used to further political agendas

By Abby Amoakuh

Trump’s team calls biopic The Apprentice dumpster fire and Elon Musk offers to host presidential debate

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Shia LaBeouf ditches acting career to become a Catholic deacon instead

By Charlie Sawyer

Ryan Gosling teases potential 2024 Oscar performance of I’m Just Ken

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Vatican declares London teen Carlo Acutis a saint after historic approval by Pope Francis

By Charlie Sawyer

Fans predict Kris Jenner will oust Alabama Barker from the Kardashian family

By Abby Amoakuh

Neuralink’s human implant success sparks fear for the future of society

By Charlie Sawyer

George Santos revives drag character Kitara Ravache on Cameo, charging $275 per video

By Abby Amoakuh

Oklahoma State Senator Dusty Deevers to criminalise watching porn with penalties of up to 20 years in prison

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Keke Palmer’s ex-boyfriend Darius Jackson files restraining order after disturbing video emerges

By Abby Amoakuh

Videos circulate of CEO Sanjay Shah dying in freak accident in front of 700 people at company party

By Abby Amoakuh

Ice Spice fans hit back at online trolls following no-makeup selfie hate