Adrian Wojtas‘ untitled photographic series captures a dystopian glimpse of Navan, Ireland in a deep fog. The nighttime images are devoid of human life, and are each cast in an aquamarine glow from the surrounding streetlights. The included works were shot over the course of two consecutive nights in the Irish town, however Wojtas’ goal is to expand the series to include a variety of locations which will meld to form a similar atmosphere.
“For each shot, I tried to stay away from including objects that would give away the location, as well as minimized the inclusion of identifiable subjects such as cars or people,” Wojtas tells Colossal. “I didn’t want the images to seem familiar to anyone looking at them.”
The multidisciplinary creative also works in design and film, and currently splits his time between Dublin and Meath, Ireland. You can see more of Wojtas’ images, including this series of transit-based photographs, on his Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
Share this story
Artist Aline Brant celebrates people of varying ages and genders in her lovely embroidered photographs. Brant starts with a black and white photograph featuring an individual person, who is then embellished with swirling strands of flowers, leaves, and vine-like lines. The brightly colored embroidery stands in contrast to the subdued grayscale tones of the photographs, highlighting the human figure while also standing alone as an eye-catching visual motif. Brant shares her work, interspersed with personal musings, on Instagram. (via I Need A Guide)
Share this story
French artist Julie Gonce's artworks imitate the beauty and detail of natural forms—budding flowers, moss growing within fallen branches, and dew delicately balanced on strands of fresh grass. Gonce has been creating her glossy sculptures since 1997, and uses her torch similarly to how a conductor uses a baton—with precision, passion, and timely delicacy. Her sculpted forms ask the viewer to be attentive to our changing planet, and to notice how beautiful and bountiful nature is as it continually replicates.
Gonce was raised around artists who ignited her creativity and influenced her to create unique work. “I grew up surrounded by artisans and artists, and I quickly discovered that I wanted a hands-on profession,” Gonce tells Colossal. “I chose glass by chance, but when I did a glassblowing training course I was immediately drawn to it.”
Gonce is passionate about preserving ancient French glassmaking techniques and uses traditional methods including glassblowing, lampworking, and glass beadmaking. When glassblowing, Gonce brings a rod of glass up to the required temperature and blows air into it to create a voluminous shape. Her lampworking involves two rods of glass which are brought together and stretched and sculpted into a chosen object. She then uses a glass beading technique which involves winding molten glass around a metal rod which she then cools and draws glass beads from.
Using two different types of glass (borosilicate and soda-lime), Gonce fuses her sculptures with natural forms: wood, seeds, mushrooms, paper, textiles, metals, bones, and even feathers. “Stitching is present in all of my sculptures, that’s how the materials are bound,” she explains.
Torchworking requires Gonce to be in perfect command of her body; by being aware of her breathing and movements she can create various shapes in molten glass. “At the heart of all of my creations, there is always the pleasure of seeing the flame and the glass melting,” says Gonce. “What I love about glass work is that there is nothing between the glass and the flame but the torch worker’s hands.”
Gonce’s relationship with the natural world is the source of her artistic inspiration, which provides her with a means of escaping everyday life. She gains motivation from living near a forest where she is constantly surrounded by ever-changing textures and lustrous colors which is reflected in the detail of her designs. “I need to live close to nature since it is my source of inspiration,” she says.
Gonce’s manipulation of glass creates movement as light dances upon her sculptures, much like how light ripples amongst flowers and plants swaying in the breeze. Gonce is currently exhibiting her sculptures at Galerie Collection in Paris alongside other several other French artists’ work. The exhibition runs until early 2019. You can see more of her pieces on her website.
Share this story
Splash and Burn: An Artist-Led Initiative Raising Awareness About the Negative Effects of Palm Oil Production in South Asia
Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of palm oil, the harvesting of which has been shown to have extremely adverse effects on wildlife and natural resources, including deforestation, fires, and the displacement of people and animals. Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic (previously) witnessed this devastation during his time spent photographing and traveling throughout the country, and decided to found the initiative Splash and Burn to spread public awareness about the resource’s inhumane production.
“A state of global environmental crisis is defining our generation,” Zacharevic tells Colossal. “As consumers, we are so disconnected from the source of our commodities that we do not recognize the impact of our daily choices. This project is an effort to bridge that gap.”
The organization’s name comes from slash-and-burn, the cheap practice of burning land to clear the way for new plantations, a method that releases toxic smoke, and has been linked to more than 500,000 respiratory infections. For two years Zacharevic researched these issues effecting Indonesia’s population, meeting with NGOs, locals, and wildlife sites to educate himself on the organizations fighting against the practices and attempting to heal from their destruction.
After researching the area and its local organizations, like the Orangutan Information Centre, the Lithuanian artist invited several fellow creatives to respond to the native landscape and the palm oil crisis through art installations. Since February, international artists have created murals, sculptures, and other works throughout Sumatra. Pieces include an orangutan mural painted by VHILS, Isaac Cordal’s miniature hazmat suit installation, and Zacharevic’s plantation intervention in which he inserted the message SOS into the landscape’s trees.
“I wanted to communicate the magnitude of the problem to a wider audience, as well as provide creative outlook, hope, and inspiration to local communities and conservationists,” says Zacharevic in a press release about the work. “From the ground, you would not suspect anything more than just another palm oil plantation, the aerial view however reveals an SOS distress signal. ‘Save our Souls’ is a message communicated to those at a distance, a reminder of the connectedness we share with nature. As more of the forests are lost, we lose a little bit of ourselves in the process.”
So far Splash and Burn has worked with Anders Gjennestad aka Strøk, Axel Void, Bibichun, Gabriel Pitcher, Isaac Cordal, Mark Jenkins, and Pixel Pancho. The ongoing initiative is curated by Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt. To follow upcoming installations or support the project’s efforts visit the Sumatran Orangutan Society website or Splash and Burn’s Instagram.
Share this story
After a visit to Tokyo in 2014, self-taught photographer Xavier Portela became frustrated by how static and two-dimensional his images appeared. His photographs didn’t capture the emotions, acute stimulation of senses, or electric feeling one experiences while gliding through the bright lights of a foreign city with jet lag-induced insomnia. To explore this vibrancy and atmosphere Portela began to manipulate the colors in his images, amplifying their saturation to make each reflect what the brain remembered, but the original image couldn’t convey.
“When you are taking photographs on the streets you have way more than just a frame, you have variables like temperature, noise, people, smell,” Portela tells Colossal. “You have tons of details that make our senses and brain record a specific ‘scene’ of that moment. When you got home and you look at your photographs on screen, you only have a frame in two dimensions. It’s frustrating how much information you just lost… I wanted my shots to look like as if they came straight out of a manga. Vibrant and electric.”
Portela’s series Glow is an ongoing archive of urban images from his trips to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New York City, and more. Each photograph is edited with a wash of neon-inspired pink, blue, and purple lights. Although previous series have included photography taken on the street, more recently he has begun to produce aerial views of the sparkling cities below. You can see more images from the Belgo-Portuguese photographer and filmmaker on Instagram and Behance. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
Share this story
Colossal + Weebly
Oakland-based artist Alexis Pavlantos brings to life beetles, fireflies, and other tiny creatures in her masterfully crafted insect jewelry where unexpected wildlife becomes high-end adornment. Despite their lifelike appearance, the objects are each sculpted entirely by hand showing the artist’s remarkable ability to translate the fine details of nature into other materials.
Pavlantos often uses an ancient form of sculpting called lost wax-casting where the piece is first rendered in wax and then turned into a mould through several steps. Lastly, molten metal like bronze or silver is poured inside which assumes the shape of the original wax, resulting in a truly one-of-a-kind object.
The tiny scale of Pavlantos’ artwork was born from necessity rather than intent. She was born and raised in the expansive southwestern United States, a place that deeply influenced her affinity for nature and the outdoors and where she obtained an MFA in sculpture from the University of New Mexico. But it wasn’t until she moved to Oakland that she had to start thinking small: studio space was simply too expensive and immediately limited the scale of her creative output.
She soon began to design increasingly smaller art objects and a menagerie of ornamental insects and functional objects in the form of both reptiles and mammals cast from various metals.
“I consider my process to be a transmogrification of my inexplicable depth of feeling into concrete material forms,” Pavlantos shares. “I create jewelry to collaborate with the human body. These embellishments interact as an extension of the body, thus nature is not something we set out to find, but is something we are a part of.”
As her business began to grow several years ago, Pavlantos made the decision to build her website with Weebly, a powerful platform for online stores. She was one of the first customers to sign up for their ecommerce platform several years ago and has used it ever since.
Pavlantos says she was attracted to a service that offered quick and easy setup while providing numerous elegant design templates and powerful tools to grow her jewelry business online. With an intuitive ecommerce website builder and an integrated shopping cart, Weebly does the heavy lifting, allowing Pavlantos to spend time on the important things like creating new work and interacting with customers.
Pavlantos’ advice for people on the fence about starting a business? “Just start somewhere,” she says. “Sometimes we’re the only ones holding ourselves back.” Whether it be the decision to bring your business online for the first time with a service like Weebly or simply reserving a new domain name, the first step is often the most important one.
Visit Weebly to learn more about their website building and ecommerce services and launch your new business today.
This post was written in partnership with Weebly.
Share this story
In his dreamlike paintings, Aron Wiesenfeld depicts scenes of young women in moments of hushed reflection. Wiesenfeld’s artworks are often set outside in softly illuminated environments at twilight or dusk. Youthful female figures quietly observe their surroundings or are poised at the edge of entering a new realm. In an interview with Juxtapoz, Wiesenfeld describes how he finds and processes inspiration:
Ideas come from anywhere… places, memories, movies, art, etc. A book called Art and Fear said, ‘Notice what you notice.’ I thought that was great advice. So many times something that flashed by my consciousness might be lost just as quickly. There is a kind of discipline to saying, ‘Wait, there was something interesting there, what was it?’ Memory is so transitory… I want to get to my sketchbook as quickly as I can.
Wiesenfeld studied at The Cooper Union and ArtCenter College of Design and currently resides in San Diego, California. His upcoming solo show will be at Arcadia Contemporary in New York in 2019. Wiesenfeld occasionally offers signed print editions of his paintings via his website, and he has also published a book which compiles the last fifteen years of his artworks. You can stay up to date on new paintings and drawings via Instagram and Facebook. (via Arrested Motion)
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Music
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.