Now that “Russian Sam” – real name Elijah Shvetsov – is set to attend the Creativity World Forum in Oklahoma City, let’s learn a bit more about the man and his project.
Elijah Shvetsov has never visited America. He has never visited Oklahoma City. But that didn’t stop the 25-year-old St. Petersburg hypermarket worker from attempting to build a minature model of downtown Oklahoma City – a project that earned him the admiration and friendship of hundreds of Oklahoma Citians half a world away.
Shvetsov started his hobby gluing pieces of paper together into buses at age 6. He assembled his first building model of the World Trade Center in 1997. After building models of prominent landmarks from around the world, he decided to build an entire downtown. After surveying cities worldwide, he chose Oklahoma City because of its density and relative compactness of its central business district. He sought out photos online and provided a glimpse of his project at www.skyscrapercity.com. It was there that some Oklahoma City residents found out about his work, and he was introduced on local community forum www.okctalk.com. Dennis Wells, an architect with Miles Associates, is leading the effort to bring “Russan Sam” (Elijah’s online handle) to Oklahoma City and is working with Creative Oklahoma to have him attend the Creativity World Forum on Nov. 16.
Creative Oklahoma will be extending free admission to the forum and a helicopter ride over the city if this mission is successful. Wells is set to host Elijah at his home – one of the new modern architectural residences popping up in an area known as SoSA – “South of St. Anthony (Hospital).”
To find out more about this project, email Dennis Wells at DWells@milesassociates.com. Contributions can be sent to Creative Oklahoma at 133 W Main Street, No. 100, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102. Creative Oklahoma is a 501c3 non-profit that promotes and catalyzes creative idea generation in individuals and institutions.
Now let’s learn about how “Russian Sam” built downtown Oklahoma City from the man himself:
1. How much money I’ve spent?
- $ 2 (20 white smooth sheets of paper)
- $ 12 (20% inks of 4 colors) Printer Canon iP3500
- $ 60 (6 months Internet)
- 2 cents for wadding
- free felt-pen
2. Officially model including 2024 parts (really about 2100)
3. 811 “trees”
3. 99 buildings & structurs (without skywalks)
4. First model was made March 10, 2010. It’s been Chase Tower
Last model was made August 12, 2010.
5. I used:
Google Earth by Google for measuring dimensions
Also 860 photos from:
and other sites
Information (height, floors):
and official sites of some buildings (ex. www.101parkave.com)
- computer (standart graphical redactor Microsoft Paint)
- needle (for glue)
- office glue
- colored felt pen
- brain & hands
Visa was approved today. I’ll be providing more details this afternoon.
UPDATE: Read story here.
A 25-YEAR-OLD FROM HALF A WORLD AWAY WHO BUILT A SCALE MODEL OF DOWNTOWN OKLAHOMA CITY MIGHT VISIT INSPIRATION
Architect may host ‘Russian Sam’
By Steve Lackmeyer
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Edition: CITY, Section: BUSINESS, Page 6C
Miles Associates has spent the past two decades helping mold and shape the Oklahoma Health Center. Now one of the firm’s architects is leading an effort to move downtown Oklahoma City halfway around the world.
Dennis Wells is no stranger to the downtown scene. He’s been a leader in advocating modern architecture in the downtown-area neighborhood south of St. Anthony Hospital that he calls SoSA (South of St. Anthony).
Wells was one of dozens of locals who became acquainted this year with “Russian Sam” — a 25-year-old Hypermart worker living in St. Petersburg, Russia, who has built a model of downtown Oklahoma City.
“Russian Sam,” whose real name is Elijah Shvetsov, has wowed the online community for months with his work, so much so that Wells is leading an effort to bring Shvetsov — and maybe his model of downtown — to Oklahoma City in time for the World Creativity Forum on Nov. 16.
To date Wells has secured his firm’s support for flying Shvetsov to Oklahoma City, and Wells himself will be hosting Shvetsov if they can manage to pull off the trip. Creative Oklahoma, meanwhile, is going to provide Shvetsov free access to the forum and potentially a helicopter ride over the downtown he created using photos and renderings found on the Internet.
If Shvetsov makes it to Oklahoma City, just a tour of the work done by Miles Associates, led by Bud Miles, will provide him with an expansive view of the city’s development. The firm’s portfolio includes all of the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park and health and science technology centers throughout the region.
No guarantees yet
The trip isn’t a sure thing. Diplomatic hurdles are almost a certainty even though Shvetsov has secured a passport. Funding is still needed for his expenses in Oklahoma City. And language barriers add to the challenge of bringing Shvetsov to town.
Shvetsov started his hobby gluing pieces of paper together into buses at age 6. He assembled his first building model of the World Trade Center in 1997. After building models of prominent landmarks from around the world, he decided to build an entire downtown. After surveying cities worldwide, he chose Oklahoma City because of its density and relative compactness of its central business district.
He sought out photos online and provided a glimpse of his project at www.skyscrapercity.com. It was there that some Oklahoma City residents found out about his work, and he was introduced on local community forum www.okctalk.com.
Creative Oklahoma, meanwhile, promotes and catalyzes creative idea generation in individuals and institutions. And so the question was posed: What better way to showcase creativity and imagination than by hosting a young man from halfway around the world who saw downtown Oklahoma City as a great place to re-create in miniature form?
HOW TO HELP
Contributions can be sent to: Creative Oklahoma 133 W Main No. 100, Oklahoma City, OK 73102.
For more information: E-mail Dennis Wells at DWells@milesassociates.com.
Model city could turn into ticket to visit OKC
By Steve Lackmeyer
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Edition: CITY, Section: BUSINESS, Page 4B
Elijah Shvetsov has spent his summer dazzling the local online community with photos of a model he has created of downtown Oklahoma City. Some are dazzled by the accuracy of his portrayal, down to the neon Union Bus sign. Others are amazed by his work simply because Shvetsov has never been to Oklahoma City, but is a 25-year-old St. Petersburg, Russia, hypermarket worker who took a liking to what he saw online.
Thanks to Shvetsov’s basic English skills and a Google translator program, he has made many friends on www.skyscrapercity.com and www.okctalk.com.
Now one of those admirers, local architect Dennis Wells, is challenging fellow fans to join him in raising money to pay for Shvetsov to fly to Oklahoma City.
Wells estimates the trip will cost about $1,000 and is starting with a $50 starter challenge and a pledge to host Shvetsov.
Wells’ initial idea was to see whether Creative Oklahoma might want to invite Shvetsov to the upcoming Creativity World Forum coming to Oklahoma City in November. The folks at Creative Oklahoma say they’re not interested in such an arrangement, which is fine with Wells, who thinks plenty of others would want to embrace the idea of Shvetsov seeing the city in person.
“I think it would be great to have him see the city first hand,” Wells says, adding “having him see it by helicopter would be a treat.”
In the three months since Shvetsov (he goes by the name “Russian Sam” online) was introduced on www.okctalk.com, the discussion of his project has seen 148 comments with more than 4,100 people viewing photos of his work.
No offense to the folks at Creative Oklahoma or the upcoming forum, but it’s difficult to find any such interest in the upcoming creativity forum on okctalk.com.
Shvetsov, meanwhile, is flattered by the ongoing interest in his project and even more by Wells’ invitation. Wells wants to make it happen; Shvetsov isn’t certain whether he can obtain a tourist visa without an invitation from an organization such as Creative Oklahoma.
Either way, the model is complete and whether or not Wells can make a trip come true, Shvetsov has friends here ready to embrace him.
For more information about efforts to bring Elijah Shvetsov to Oklahoma City, e-mail him at email@example.com.
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.”