MAN USES INTERNET PHOTOS TO CREATE A MINIATURE FORM OF CITY
Russian artist models work after downtown
By Steve Lackmeyer
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Edition: CITY, Section: BUSINESS, Page 2B
But that hasn’t stopped Shvetsov from creating a model of downtown Oklahoma City that has turned him into somewhat of a celebrity on local message boards.
His photos, which first appeared on the Oklahoma City section of www.skyscrapercity.com, show an emerging skyline that covers all of the central business district down to the neon sign at the Union Bus Station.
Communicating via a series of e-mails, Shvetsov said he started gluing pieces of paper together into buses at age 6. He assembled his first building model of the World Trade Center in 1997.
“My friend gave me the travel magazine, which had a picture of New York,” Shvetsov said. “This model is still kept with me. In 1998 I bought the magazine Geo, in which (there was) a panoramic view of Chicago. And … I fell in love with the American city!”
Soon Shvetsov was searching an assortment of newspapers and magazines for images of American cities he could clip and save. His hobby grew even more when he bought his first computer in 2005.
“Now I have a collection of tens of thousands of photos, hundreds of articles about architecture and buildings of the United States,” Shvetsov said.
In December 2009, Shvetsov contemplated building a model of an entire downtown city.
“I decided that this would be the American city, of course, but what?” Shvetsov said. “Large — Chicago, Los Angeles, New York — too long time; small — Boise, Tacoma, Knoxville — too easy.”
Shvetsov sought out what he calls an “average” American city.
“And I began to choose — Nashville, Indianapolis, Memphis, Tulsa, Kansas City, Columbus, Charlotte, Cleveland and others,” Shvetsov said. “But my choice was Oklahoma City. Why? Because (it has a) downtown of small size and it contains buildings of various styles: modern, postmodern, Art Deco.”
Shvetsov said he relied on Google images and a popular local history blog — www.dougdawg.blogspot.com.
“In the Google Earth I measured a building plan, then opened the sites Google Maps and www.bing.com (maps),” Shvetsov said. “In the program Microsoft Paint I paint all sides of the building, choose a color.”
The drawing of a model takes from about one hour (Union Bus Station) to two days (City Place). He displayed his first models for downtown Oklahoma City on www.skyscrapercity.com in March.
Doug Loudenback, operator of www.dougdawg.blogspot.com, notes Shvetsov isn’t the first visitor from halfway around the globe. He said he was teary eyed when a video he created for the song “Oklahoma Rising” caught the attention of an Army sergeant in Iraq who needed his assistance in downloading the video to show to his troops.
He smiled when he was told by The Oklahoman that Shvetsov had relied on his site to help create a model of downtown.
“It floors me and I still don’t understand how he singled out Oklahoma City,” Loudenback said.
Shvetsov wants to visit Oklahoma City, and “many others.” In the past few weeks he has engaged in several online discussions with local residents.He also has also followed discussions about future downtown development.
“I read Doug’s blog about the launch of a tram (streetcar system planned as part of MAPS 3) in Oklahoma City,” Shvetsov said. “I liked that all the issues the government decides along with the people. We have not so, unfortunately. I think that (Oklahoma City) is very quiet city. And beautiful, especially at night.”