A Pyrotechnic Artwork by Cai Guo-Qiang Explodes into a Blossom on the Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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images via chrisstorb

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In 2009, Cai Guo-Qiang was commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to create a site-specific explosion event on the front facade of the museum. The project, titled Fallen Blossomsused a gunpowder fuse, metal net, and scaffolding to activate a blossom pattern for 60 seconds, temporarily setting the columns of the building ablaze.

The fuse for the flower was lit on December 11 at sunset for a large audience. The title for the event and corresponding exhibition is derived from a classical Chinese proverb “hua kai hua luo” which comments on the extreme loss felt when a life is ended unexpectedly. The title and event were also meant as a tribute to the Museum’s late director, Anne d’Harnoncourt.

Guo-Qiang currently lives and works in New York, but was born and trained in stage design in China. Not limited to one medium, Guo-Qiang works in installation, drawing, performance and video art. During his 9-year stay in Japan he explored the use of gunpowder in his work which eventually led to his large scale explosion events. Guo-Qiang was notably the Director of Visual and Special Effects for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (via cerceos)

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Artist James Merry Embellishes Sportswear Logos with Embroidered Plants

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As part of a recent series of embroideries, artist James Merry softened the bold logos of sportswear companies by adding stitched flora to vintage clothing. For instance a glacier flower and moss grow from an old Nike sweatshirt, and a FILA logo is topped by a mushroom cap. Merry is a longtime collaborator with Björk and creates many of her extravagant costumes for stage and music videos, and you can read a recent interview with him over on i-D. (via Quipsologies, Booooooom)

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Hundreds of Colorful Café Chairs Take the Form of a Winding Roller Coaster in the Middle of a French Square

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All images via Baptiste Debombourg

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Baptiste Debombourg (previously here and here) has transformed a public square using the very objects that typically occupy it—taking 1,200 café chairs and forming them into an elaborate roller coaster. Although the installation is static, Debombourg created movement within the sculpture by incorporating six bright colors and four sky-high loops that twist and turn far from the ground.

The installation, titled Stellarwas built as a part of Le Voyage à Nantes, and will be located within the Place du Bouffay in Nantes, France until August 20th. Its inspiration stems from addressing the great presence of outdoor cafés and restaurants within the city center, as well as an artwork Robert Delaunay produced for the Paris World’s Fair in 1937. (via Junk Culture)

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A New Mural by Seth Globepainter on the Streets of Montreal

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This clever new mural by Julien Malland, aka Seth Globepainter (previously here and here) just appeared on the streets of Montreal. The piece depicts two children running into each other in his trademark faceless style, but also incorporates the building’s brick facade to create their pixelated clothes. The mural was organized by MU, an organization that coordinates murals around Montreal “to trigger a social transformation and to turn Montreal into an open-air art gallery.” (via This Isn’t Happiness, StreetArtNews)

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Tiny Reclaimed Wood Cabins That Appear Plucked From the Pages of Dr. Seuss

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Dan Pauly builds guest cottages, playhouses, garden sheds, and saunas all appearing to be perfectly suited for an enchanted forest. The small, asymmetrical buildings have a long slanted roof, crooked chimney, and charming front window with built-in flower box. Each cabin designed by Pauly and his company The Rustic Way is built with reclaimed wood, each piece restored to reflect its natural weathered condition.

Pauly’s woodworking history goes back four generations, back to the 1800s when his family emigrated to the US and built several barns in Minnesota (some of which are still standing). This history is embedded into Pauly’s fascination with reclaimed wood. “As I uncover an old barn or shed,” Pauly says, “I realize that it could be the same lumber that my great-grandfather used more than 100 years ago. I think that respect for the craftsmen and craftswomen of the past, and for the wood they used, make a difference in each new piece I create.”

You can see more of Pauly’s cabins on The Rustic Way’s Facebook page. (via Twisted Sifter)

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Sponsor // Get 57% Off the Craftsy Online-Video Class ‘Dynamic Detail in Pen, Ink & Watercolor’

Depict the world around you in fascinating detail using a relaxed, methodical approach. With artist and instructor Steven Reddy as your guide, capture highly detailed scenes as you learn techniques for creating contour drawings, grisaille underpaintings, beautiful watercolors, and more. Enroll in the online Craftsy class, Dynamic Detail in Pen, Ink & Watercolor, for 57% off today — a special offer for Colossal readers.

In these online-video lessons, you’ll learn how to break down a complex scene into an initial sketch that’s light and loose. Then, create contour drawing and a grisaille underpainting that will bring extraordinary dimension to your work, before using a limited watercolor palette to enhance your piece with harmonious color. Finally, finish your work by using contour lines to suggest shaping and hatch marks to create texture.

Visit Craftsy.com today to get 57% off lifetime access to the online class, Dynamic Detail in Pen, Ink & Watercolor, and give it a try risk-free with Craftsy’s 100% money-back promise. Offer expires  August 10, 2015 at 11:59pm MT.

Paintings of Birds Sprinkled with Color by Frank Gonzales

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Artist Frank Gonzales refers to his process as a cross-pollination of elements, a mixture of realism and artificiality expressed through acrylic paintings of birds perched atop plants and crystaline formations. “I like to construct and deconstruct during the process, leaving traces of my journey in the end results,” Gonzales says. His careful depictions of wildlife are somewhat reminiscent of Audubon’s style, but the colorful drips of paint and other surreal elements gives each painting a fresh, illustrative feel.

Gonzales most recently toured around New Mexico with Santa Fe Exports and he has a number of prints and original paintings available through several galleries. You can also follow his work on Instagram.

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