Scenes from the Ceiling: Creating 2D stories and characters from household items and clothing

Creating a fun conceptual images with an original execution is the ultimate goal of many artists on Instagram. Everyone is looking for that ‘wow-factor’ to surprise their audience with, be it a fresh perspective or an imaginative image to capture their attention. While inspiration can be found in similar places it is how the individual applies their own unique perspective that can truly bring a creative project to life. 

Scenes from the ceiling is a fun art project where the floor is used to create a seemingly two-dimensional artwork and photographed from above. To discover the best tips and tricks to create these scenes we spoke to some creative photographers that invent the most extraordinary adventures constructed entirely out of clothing, toys and household items. Often starring a sleepy-eyed babe, their whimsical stories are artfully brought to life with the help of bed-sheets, hats, scarves and much more.

Anna Argiropoulos

How did you come up with the idea to start creating these types of images?
I loved seeing people do monthly milestone photos and when I was pregnant with my son three years ago I came up with an idea for his using inspiration from Pinterest. Then between him and the birth of our daughter I found the work of Dominique of @allthatisshe and her #scenefromtheceiling hashtag and I thought it was such a brilliant concept.  It reminded me of my favourite show growing up Art Attack where the host would create these large scale photos from fabric. Once my daughter Georgia was born I knew I had to do this for her monthly photos! 

Georgia at 7-months old.  Image via @annawithlove on Instagram

Georgia at 7-months old. Image via @annawithlove on Instagram

Can you share some tips for creating this type of photos?
Think outside the box, and usually my best ideas come in the moment as I'm styling a scene.  I realize I need something and then run around the house trying to find something that will work.  My husband t-shirts are always coming to the rescue along with my kids blankets and bedding! I always start with the idea first, and then figure out the background.  For example the Breakfast at Tiffany's concept I knew I had to have the store front, a road and the brick. Once I figured out what I'd use for that the rest started to take place. 

Do you sketch out your ideas before arranging the photo?
Yes always! Every single photoshoot I've ever done for the last 6+ years have all had sketches —  from my personal branding portrait shoots with clients, creating prints for my e-commerce shop, collaborations with brands and my own creative photos with the kids. Everything is sketched out beforehand, it's how I think out a photo and then can breakdown what I'll need for it! Where I brainstorm what I can use for each piece.

Do you use only clothes and fabrics that you already have at home or do you buy items just for your photos?
I try to use what I have at home but over the last 8 months Amazon prime has been a lifesaver and I've bought a lot of bed sheets, and table clothes in various colours to help with building backdrops.  One of the main backdrops you see is a pale blue. That was a bedsheet we had from before so I try to use that every other month as the backdrop. I've also used construction paper to cut out a lot for the elements as well.

Georgia at 4-months old.  Image via @annawithlove on Instagram

Georgia at 4-months old. Image via @annawithlove on Instagram

Where did you find your inspiration?
For this particular series I brainstormed a bunch of ideas while I was pregnant. I have way more than the 12 I need for each month’s milestone so it just a matter of picking and choosing which one to go next based on how easily I can execute it!  I knew I wanted to incorporate strong woman from history like Marie Curie and also have some of my own personal favourite from childhood like The Little Mermaid & Princess & the Pea! Once I have the idea I want then I'll go hunt on Pinterest for some inspiration of some elements. Again, sometimes it all comes together in the moment.  For example for the mermaid one, I totally forgot I had that big blue knitted blanket and as I was trying to figure out what to use for the "water" I came across it. It's definitely not always planned - I try to be as organized as I can with two little ones.

Mermaid-DIY1.jpg

What are yours go-to items are for creating images?
For this series, it's the blue bed sheet that I use every other month as the backdrop.  Along with lots of bold coloured t-shirts. I have this little wooden rainbow that I try to incorporate into the sky as often as possible too! 

In terms of creating in general, colour is what I always think of first.  My brand colours have always been pink + blue so I naturally gravitate towards those colours.  I love using colourful polka dots as well. 

Find Anna on Instagram @annawithlove |  Website: annawithlove.com

Joanna Buda 

How did you come up with the idea to start creating these types of images?
When you scroll my IG account you will see old photos showing my first son - Olaf, sometimes me or my husband. For a long time there were only pictures of our day-to-day life. 

Image via  @joanna.buda  on Instagram

Image via @joanna.buda on Instagram

When I had discovered #scenefromtheceiling and #mymagicmattress (don't know how and when) I fell in love with the idea and decided to start making photos of Olaf with some magic. Now I continue taking this kind of photos with my two sons - Olaf and Marcel.

Can you share some tips for creating this type of photos?
I think it's like painting. Only difference is that you don't use brushes and paints but things from your surroundings. Everyone can try it and I'm sure that the result will be awesome

Here are my tips:

  • First of all you need a topic of your picture - get inspired!

  • Try to imagine how to show it visually

  • Take blankets, clothes, fabrics that can be useful 

  • Arrange scenery and have fun!

  • Climb the ladder and take a photo of your work. 

Do you sketch out your ideas before arranging the photo?

In my opinion sketches are very useful and if you have time for it - do it! You can try some arrangement, plan what items you need.

Im full-time mommy so planning photos is not for me. When I have got an idea (and of course when my boys have good mood) we must act quickly! I take clothes and socks from wardrobe, overlay from bed and prepare scenery. When background is ready it's time to put boys. I have got only a few seconds to take photos (boys have got more interesting things to do than laying on the floor) and it's done!

Do you use only clothes and fabrics that you already have at home or do you buy items just for your photos?

I use only items from my surroundings, don't buy any. But I think I need to buy a new overlay… just not for my bed.

Where did you find your inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere! Just need to look round. This kind of photos let you or you children have fantastic adventure. Only your imagination limits you!

What are yours go-to items are for creating images?

Of course I've got go-to items! To take a photo I always need a ladder or chair. Sweets are also very useful to encourage Olaf. And of course there won't be a photo without my two boys - Olaf and Marcel.

LionDIY.jpg

Find Joanna on Instagram: @joanna.buda

Need more inspiration? 

Here are 3 more amazing content creators that create incredible scenes from clothes and fabrics.

Dominique Davis 

Dom is an award winning content creator and a mum two girls Penny and Amelia . 

She has been featured in Vanity Fair, ABC News, Metro, Huff Post, and winner of Instagrammer of the Year 2018 by Blogosphere. 

She’s known for both her creative content on Instagram and raising awareness of environmental issues through #ProjectLitterCritter. 

Find Dominique on Instagram @allthatisshe |  Website: allthatisshe.com

Danielle Dean

Danielle is a blogger, photographer and full time content creator.

She is very passionate about telling visual stories and creating compelling content. 

Her photos are super creative and she very generously shares her tips and tricks, you can find them in her highlighted stories.

Find Danielle on Instagram: @sienna.and.i |  Website: siennaandi.com

Ali Farzan

Ali is 17 year old student  from Iran. Two years ago he was inspired by Tim Burtons art and began exploring creative photography. At the very beginning of his career he used old clothes and fabrics, but as his projects progressed he was able to buy some extra items and fabrics to help enact his creative visions.

Before starting to create scenes and objects from clothes and fabrics, Ali first uses his imagination to create sketches of his vision.

Ali finds inspiration for his art from his daily routines, his family, their behaviours and every day conversations. 

Simply by using household items such as toys, clothes, fabrics Ali can bring any idea to life.

 Find Ali on Instagram: @alii_farzan