Within the vast arena of Japanese sculpture there’s a small niche category known as jizai okimono. The craft involves carving realistic animals whose bodies and limbs are all animated through joints just like the real living thing. Some common subjects are birds, fishes, snakes and insects. It’s a craft that originated in the late-Edo period (late 1700s) when metalsmiths and armor makers, faced with a decline in demand for armor, found themselves with plenty of time on their hands. But ever since it’s modest beginnings, the lobster, with its numerous joints and undulating back, has been considered to be the most difficult and challenging subject.
Ryosuke Ohtake, a young 25-year old sculptor, caused quite a stir recently when he boldly took on the challenge and created an immaculate and animated lobster from wood. What stunned many was that not only was the piece carved from wood (which is considered far more difficult than using copper) but the fact that this was Ohtake’s first official jizai okimono. The lobster was part of a wooden sculpture exhibition at Tokyu Department Store in Tokyo this April. Watch the video to see exactly how realistic this lobster moves. And you can see more of his work over on his Facebook page.
Oh Diamond Sea Shore Drive Me From The Yard, Cape Town
Artist Faith47 (previously) has been busy the last few months with new works popping up in her native South Africa and in locations around London. The artist is known for her use of existential symbolism to comment on nature and the human condition, specifically the struggle of many South Africans who grapple with injustice, poverty, and inequality. If you want to learn more check out this 2013 interview over on CIMA where she discusses the inspiration behind much of her work, and you can also follow her on Facebook. (via Colossal Submissions)
Oh Diamond Sea Shore Drive Me From The Yard, detail, Cape Town
Harvest, collaboration with Thingking, Cape Town.
Taken recently off the coast of Bali, these surreal photos are the creation of Montreal-based director and photographer Benjamin Von Wong, known for his exceedingly difficult photoshoots. Where it might be more practical to create the complex aspects of these photos digitally, Von Wong took a different path and assembled a team of two models who also happen to be trained freedivers, 7 additional support divers, and obtained special permission to utilize a 50-year-old underwater shipwreck. The entire shoot took place 25 meters below the surface, and because of the extreme conditions and limitations, he relied heavily on natural light to create the final images you see here.
You can watch the video above to see how the photoshoot came together and read more about the process over on his blog. (via PetaPixel, My Modern Met)
Born and raised in the Philippines, New Jersey-based artist Gregory Halili is deeply influenced by the vegetation and wildlife he experienced as a child. His latest series of work involves a fusion of the human form with the natural world in these amazing bas-relief shell skulls. Halili carves and then paints with oil on raw, gold-lip and black-lip mother of pearl found in shells collected from the Philippines. The pieces will soon be exhibited at Silverlens Galleries in Manila and Nancy Hoffman Gallery in NYC, but for now you can see much more in this Facebook gallery. (via Junk Culture, Skullspiration)
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Robin, 12cm tall. Copper wire and telephone cabling.
UK artist Celia Smith works with various forms of wire to create delicate bird sculptures and installations. While somewhat abstract in appearance, the pieces are almost lifelike in form and scale as if drawn with a pen. You can see over 50 different pieces by the artist on her website, and catch an interview over on Ideas in the Making. Not shy about her process or methods, she also offers wire sculpting workshops.
Egret, 48cm tall. Steel wire and telephone cabling. / Peacock, 110cm Tall. Steel bar, copper wires and telephone cabling
Mumeration of Starlings. Installation of 60 wire birds dimensions variable. Paper coated telephone wires and steel wire.
Lapwings. 30cm high. Copper wire and telephone cabling.
Swirling Lapwings. 1.5m X 1.5m steel wire and telephone cabling.
Starling Wreath. 100cm diameter. Paper coated telephone wires and steel wire.
Parade is an interactive art installation concevied by ceramacist Laurent Craste and digital agency Dpt. for the Chromatic festival in Montreal. At first glance the piece looks rather mundane: two misshapen porcelain vases sit atop a pedestal inside a wood cube, lit from above by an industrial light. But move the light and suddenly the magic happens as shadows projected from the vases animate to life. What a fun piece.
Update: Of course things like this are never as simple as they appear. Dpt. explains further that the animated “shadows” are coming from a hidden projector which tracks the movements of the faux light source. We’ve been tricked! But I suppose that’s kind of the point.