Category: Art

A Huge Abandoned Bowling Alley in Santa Fe Has Been Turned into an Immersive Art Environment Now Open to the Public 

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In the gutted shell of an abandoned bowling alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a 150 member strong artist collective called Meow Wolf has just thrown open the doors to a new immersive art environment. The group was started nearly ten years ago by both artists and fabricators in order to plan events that were situated in-between large scale art exhibitions and massive parties. The home of the group’s latest environment, a role-playing installation titled The House of Eternal Return, was purchased by Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin with the express purpose of turning the space into Meow Wolf’s large-scale vision.

The transformed and sprawling 20,000 square foot world serves as an unique combination of art exhibition, fantasy world, jungle gym, and children’s museum. Unlike a sterile museum however, you’re allowed to touch everything, go anywhere, push unlimited buttons, and crawl inside of anything that strikes your interest in the boundless environment. Clearly a spiritual sister to St. Louis’ famous City Museum.

“The group has long been inspired by monumental works of art,” Vince Kadlubek, one of Meow Wolf’s organizers, told Colossal. “But I think we are equally inspired by arcades, theme parks, Burning Man, grocery stores, nature—immersive spaces. At the heart of it we are probably most inspired by the forts we built growing up and certainly Nickelodeon, MTV, Jim Henson, Tumblr, and Twin Peaks.”

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Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

At the center of the installation is a full-size two-story home which you enter through the front door. This front door however is not how you exit the giant structure, as refrigerators, fireplaces, and toilets serve as portals to more expansive worlds. While peeking into each room of the Victorian house you learn about the Seligs, the inhabitants of the home who include an artist, her inventor husband, and their young son. Your mission for this fabricated world is to discover what interdimensional incident happened in the house, gathering clues with each room you explore, each cabinet you open. No matter where you go in the fictional world, you are interacting with some detailed aspect of the larger narrative. Some tangents get you closer to the mystery, while others fill in details about the family’s long and complicated ancestry.

The creative process for creating such an involved experience took 18 months, in part because the installation and storyline were being built in tandem. “We had a team of six writers who had a specific story arc with specific plot points and characters, but much of the story elements were written from backgrounds of the objects and spaces that were being created,” said Kadlubek. “Our creative process is not top-down. It is lateral.”

Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

The artspace is a video game come to life, allowing you to physically explore areas of the universe without bumping your avatar into a digital wall. You can instead enter into dissected vehicles, explore a dome covered in glistening animal eyes, or play music by hitting the ribs of a fossilized mastodon. All of these objects were created by the collective in their extensive wood shop, from dinosaur remains to the house’s ornate window frames.

General mission for the House of Eternal Return is $15 for New Mexico residents and $18 for those out of state. Over the next couple of months musicians will begin to perform in the installation’s venue Fancy Town with a line-up that includes Explosions in the Sky, Of Montreal, CocoRosie, and Mykki Blanco. To see upcoming events and peek inside the massive world of Meow Wolf, take a look at their Instagram and Facebook. (via ars technica and i09) 

Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

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Guido Mocafico’s Photographs of the Blaschka’s Exquisite Scientific Glass Models 

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Octopus vulgaris, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Photograph © Guido Mocafico, 2013. With the courtesy of the Natural History Museum of London, UK.

Father and son Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka dedicated their lives to creating some of the most exquisite glass models ever produced by human hands over the course of overlapping careers spanning the mid 1800s through the 1930s. Originally from Bohemia, but based in Dresden, the artists used glassblowing techniques to fabricate near lifelike sculptures of plants and invertebrates including jellyfish, snails, sea anemones, corals, hydroids, starfish, sea-cucumbers, and other creatures.

The Blaschka glass models are made from clear, colored, and painted glass, sometimes assembled with wires. All of the pieces were commissioned by institutions for private research collections and were never sold directly to the public. It’s estimated the father and son made approximately 4,400 individual models during their lifetimes, the majority of which survive today.

Over the last few years photographer Guido Mocafico has set out to document many of the most impressive models created by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka that are currently stored in museums and universities around the world. Using his own unique style to illuminate each object against a stark black background, Mocafico manages to capture the minute details of each artwork, bringing to life sculptures that are now more than a century old.

A large exhibition of Mocafico’s photos, titled simply Blaschka, are currently on view at Hamiltons Gallery in London through May 24, 2016. You can explore more photos on Artsy. (via Juxtapoz)

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Aulosphaera elegantissima, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Photograph © Guido Mocafico, 2013. With the courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Dublin, Ireland.

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Bougainvillia fruiticosa, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Photograph © Guido Mocafico, 2014. With the courtesy of the University Museum of Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Carmarina hastata stage 4, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Photograph © Guido Mocafico, 2014. With the courtesy of the University of Vienna, Austria.

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Porpita meditteranea, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Photograph © Guido Mocafico, 2013. With the courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Geneva, Switzerland.

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Rafael Araujo’s Architectural Renderings of Life Now as a Coloring Book 

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Architect and illustrator Rafael Araujo (previously) drafts beautiful three-dimensional spaces in a studio without technology, connecting himself back to nature while he meticulously demonstrates the Golden Ratio’s role in the natural world. In an attempt to pass on this meditative quality about his process and work, Araujo is creating the Golden Ratio Coloring Book. This book is currently on Kickstarter along with video documentation of Araujo’s process, which he has been fine-tuning for the last 40 years.

“I was 15 when I started noticing intelligent patterns in the world of nature—spirals, sequences, proportions,” said Araujo. “This secret of nature’s beautiful designs unfolded before my very eyes. Everything I draw is by hand. I don’t use a computer, just a pencil, compass, and a protractor.”

Araujo’s prints are also available in the Colossal Shop.

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Artist Duo ‘Expanded Eye’ Explore Human Consciousness Through Painted Repurposed Wood Assemblages 

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Courtesy Vertical Gallery

We’ve long been enamored by the tattoo artistry of Jade Tomlinson and Kev James of Expanded Eye who examine a collision of human conciousness, geometry and the natural world in their refreshingly original artworks. The duo has also begun producing three dimensional pieces in the form of sculptures and painted assemblages built from repurposed wood. The cut fragments serve as a canvas or become fully articulated parts of faces or limbs adorned with pieces of windows, doors and books, all found on the street.

As with their tattoo work, Jade and Kev work side by side to develop new concepts in a process that begins with sketching and gradually moves into 3D. “The aesthetic however is an exciting process of unconscious evolution, as the pieces grow and take shape by immersing ourselves in our studio full of reclaimed wood and found objects,” they share with Colossal. “Using [the] same visual language and symbols to depict stories and concepts but with skin comes limitations, as opposed to working with wood and large scale, you have boundless artistic freedom. Different mediums allow for different explorations.”

Expanded Eye just premiered several new sculptures and a print at Vertical Gallery in Chicago as part of their three year anniversary show with Jana & JS, and STATIC on view through the end of April. They also built several large-scale installations for the adhocPAD project space in Vienna. You can follow more of their work on Instagram and Facebook.

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Courtesy Vertical Gallery

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Courtesy Vertical Gallery

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Courtesy Vertical Gallery

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Courtesy Expanded Eye

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Courtesy adhocPAD

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Courtesy adhocPAD

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Courtesy adhocPAD

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New Ornate Ink Portraits of Lovable Dogs by Alex Konahin 

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Graphic artist and illustrator Alex Konahin (previously here and here) has just finished a new illustration-based project centered around the subject of seriously detailed dogs. The Latvia-based artist is known for his highly decorative style which he illustrates in each of his drawn subjects, a trait that is exemplified in the ornate fur of the included animals.

Konahin’s series was inspired by no inspiration at all, the works coming from a time when Konahin was going through an intense creative block after a long break from his personal creative work. Konahin’s first portrait in the series was of an English Bulldog, and after liking the result, followed that piece up with a German Shepherd and Pit Bull Terrier. You can see more of Konahin’s work on his Behance, Instagram, and Facebook.

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All images courtesy of Alex Konahin

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A Deconstructed Garden Suspended in the Air by Rebecca Louise Law 

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All images courtesy of Bikini Berlin

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To celebrate spring, London-based artist Rebecca Louise Law (previously) has placed 30,000 live flowers in the atrium of German Bikini Berlin, suspending a colorful garden above the heads of the store’s visitors with copper wire. The deconstructed floral arrangement was donated by Dutch Toll was blumen machen and designed to be an installation that would dry over the time of its placement in the space.

“The installation is designed to be an inviting, enchanting celebration of the outdoors and of spring color,” said Law. “We decided to name the sculpture simply, ‘Garten’ the German word for garden, in keeping with the simple, understated post-war design statement made by the Bikini Berlin building itself.”

You can walk beneath the flowers of Law’s Garten through May 1, 2016. (via Designboom)

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