Tiny Lives

Her artwork is often found hidden in forgotten pockets of Melbourne. Meet Tinky, the artist behind our cricket-inspired cover creation.

Tinky, Melbourne, Victoria
Artist, Liz Sonntag, aka Tinky.

If you’ve ever been wandering along a Melbourne laneway and spied a miniscule scene – tiny figures in a miniature fantastical world – you may have come across the work of artist Liz Sonntag, aka Tinky.

Small Worlds

Tinky gathers vintage objects and assembles them with figurines and word play to create humorous dioramas. “Each artwork embraces a calamitous story of human drama and playful folly,” she says.

“Faced with a world of mismatched proportions and unexpected scenarios, each miniature character comes to life through their dream-like determination to make the best of their odd situation, aided and abetted Tiny Lives by a darkly humorous caption.”

“Each artwork embraces a calamitous story of human drama and playful folly,” she says.

Cover Star

While Tinky’s work can be found in what she calls “non-spaces”, she also exhibits in galleries. Plus, she’s created a cricket-themed artwork for the cover of this magazine to celebrate the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.

“I’m very passionate about Melbourne, its vibrancy and spirit,” she says. “There’s never a dull moment in this energetic city."

“I remember my introduction to cricket as a kid in the 1970s, watching Max Walker in his floppy white hat on the Aerogard TV commercial.The catchcry – ‘Have a good weekend’ – really seemed to stick. Working on this piece brought back lovely childhood memories around that.” 

Tinky’s Favourite Galleries

I’m a big fan of Collingwood’s Off the Kerb Gallery and its ethos of fostering emerging to mid-career experimental and contemporary artists, including street artists, illustrators and sculptors. My exhibiting career started there.

Part residence, part private art museum, Lyon Housemuseum in Kew houses an exquisite art collection, including works by Patricia Piccinini, Howard Arkley and Callum Morton. The public Housemuseum Galleries are next door. 

Yarra Sculpture Gallery in Abbotsford is an old factory turned artist-run initiative that supports artists to explore new sculptural art projects, including small and large-scale works and projections. It hosts a killer member show each October.

A version of this article first appeared in our spring 2022 Melbourne and Victoria Official Guide.