christopher grant dream art altoids tins astoria new york untapped cities boo paterson2
Courtesy of Boo York City

Advertisers have been trying to sell dreams for over a century, but one New York artist is actually bringing them to life – inside Altoids tins. Christopher Grant, based in Astoria, re-creates people’s dreams through creating paper dioramas in Altoids tins.

“Dreams are so real and visceral during the process and immediately vaporize upon waking, so I wondered how I could preserve at least a moment of something so ephemeral and lasso its whimsy” said Grant.

Christopher Grant originally began making the intricate artworks for his girlfriend, Grace, so she could carry her dreams around in her pocket. He said, “It all started one morning when Grace recounted this crazy dream that she had just had where it was simultaneously day and night and there was an old ship at sea with three whales splashing their tales in the distance.

christopher grant dream art altoids tins astoria new york untapped cities boo paterson
Courtesy of Boo York City

He said: “I try not to ask too many questions of the dreamer – I just want them to describe what they remember of their dream while its relatively fresh, and I’ll take what pops out and put it into actuality. I’ve stopped trying to capture an entire dream and focus instead on an encapsulated moment.

“I’ve got a limited amount of surface area to work with so I try not to make them too busy. Recently, I’ve also been experimenting with the range of depth, as the tins are only about an inch deep, and how micro or macro I can make something given the space restrictions.”

As well as being an artist, Christopher Grant, 30, is also an established actor, whose credits include the Broadway smash, Million Dollar Quartet, and the movie Rolling On The Floor Laughing, which was in the official selection for Sundance, Milan and Toronto film festivals, among others.

christopher grant dream art altoids tins astoria new york untapped cities boo paterson3Courtesy of Boo York City

Christopher, who is currently talking to galleries about showcasing his dream boxes, said, “As well as the dream boxes, I’m also really excited about creating lamps at the moment. I made a lamp for living room out of this great branch that I found in my neighborhood after a storm and some old rusty lanterns I had lying around. I want to make these moveable, found-object robot lamps. They’ll have goose-neck eyes and bodies that open up to reveal mother boards and all that machine-y robot nonsense.”

“I just love trash day in NYC. Every time we go out for a walk, I stop at every trash heap to inspect sticks and discarded machine parts. As an artist, you’re constantly scouring the world for your next idea.”

He added: “I really enjoy the fact that, closed, they just look like Altoids breath mints. However, when you open them, you get to see the beautiful strange world.”

*To commission your own dream box from Christopher, email [email protected]

For more quirky urban art projects, check out one of our roundups of NYC street art projects, and “Ear and There”, a street art exhibition in which ear moldings are placed on buildings. Finally, to read the full story, visit Boo York City.

Get in touch with the author @booyorkbooyork