By Denise Koch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — During the pandemic, many of us looked for ways to brighten our dim days. Denise Koch found an Instagram feed that kept her laughing.

It’s called ‘Tiny Tony’ and Koch discovered it’s the creation of a real-life TonyTony Shore. Shore is a Yale University grad and chairman of the painting department at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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When classes went virtual, Shore had to find a way to teach narrative painting, a subject usually taught with live models. That’s what led him into the world of miniatures.

At first, Shore just looked for action figures. But he soon found he kept running into the same problem, no matter how much he looked for usable models.

“Most of the figures I was finding were angry white guys dressed in military gear, or super heroes who were making these faces,” said Shore, who decided to sculpt a miniature version of himself.

That’s how Tiny Tony was born. After that, there was no stopping his adventures.

“He’s probably more of an outdoorsman than I am,” Shore said. “He’s got multiple vehicles, like a scooter and a Hummer. It’s been a little nuts.”

He’s not wrong. Tiny Tony posts became a must-see for Instagram users. Shore said he’s gotten fan mail, and his tiny counterpart now has his own row home, a replica of Shore’s childhood home.

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“I’ve been slowly building the space inside to resemble the world I grew up in,” Shore said.

Shore also created a tiny replica of his late father.

“My dad passed away a number of years ago now, but if I were to title those images, it would be ‘unfinished conversations,” he said.

Tiny Tony has led Shore in to the world of stop-motion animation, and now the figure can be seen skate boarding, sitting on the couch or even riding a scooter.

So what started as a teaching problem has become a new adventure, both for Shore and his miniature likeness.

“Through COVID, he started collecting things,” Shore said. “Now, he has a much better life than I do.”

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To follow Tiny Tony’s adventures, just check out Shore’s Instagram feed: TonyShorePainter.