For her latest photographic series titled Sand Creatures, Rotterdam-based photographer Claire Droppert hurled clumps of sand through the air and captured the peculiar shapes with a high speed camera. Looking at the final images it was hard not to see the abstract forms of animals and other creatures that emerged from the weightless plumes of sand. Droppert has been sharing the series on Instagram, and you can see more photography on her website. (via Colossal Submissions)
As a person who’s spent more than a few hours at the seat of a potter’s wheel I can attest to the strangely soothing act of doodling around with wet clay sludge (called slip) before or after throwing a pot. As fun as it is, it’s still somewhat surprising to see the act elevated to this level of artistry by
Michael Gardner Mikhail Sadovnikov who blurs the line between performance and visual art as he creates pattern after pattern on an empty wheel. (via The Awesomer)
Montreal based A’shop crew is an artist-run production company that creates graffiti murals, street art, and other public art displays. Most of their work is heavily influenced by graffiti but has also found inspiration elsewhere like their 2011 piece titled Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (top) that borrows from the art nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha. You can see more of their work on Facebook and over on the website. (via Oddity Central)
Paint Showers is beautiful animated short directed and animated by LA-based Miguel Jiron. Filmed back in 2011, the piece was made by photographing sequences of paint drips and splashes which were then set to sounds of rain creating an otherworldly thunderstorm of paint. You can see much more of Jiron’s animation work right here. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
It goes without saying that one of the most ubiquitous sightings on the web are millions upon trillions of pet photos. Cat gifs, funny dog videos, puppy memes, and even an entire currency. But every once in a while an animal (or group of animals), paired with the right photographer, rises above the mammalian fray and enters the realm of art. We’ve seen it here on Colossal with the works of Carli Davidson, Seth Casteel, Theron Humphrey & Maddie, and Sonya Yu & Trotter. Enter the latest contenders: self-taught photographer Elke Vogelsang and her three dogs Noodles, Scout and Loli.
Based in Hildesheim, Germany, Vogelsang is a professional photographer who mostly shoots portraits of people and pets, but in her spare time spends plenty of time with her trio of rescue dogs who frequently find themselves in front of the camera. Two of the dogs are Galgo Español mixes and the youngest, Loli, is a bonafide mut. Regardless of their pedigree, Vogelsang has a knack for capturing the dogs at their most expressive moments, resulting in photos that are equally heartwarming and humorous.
Update: Vogelsang shares some tips with SLR Lounge on getting the most out of your pet photoshoot.
Psychogeography is the act of exploring an urban environment with an emphasis on curiosity and drifting. Or, more colloquially put, a “toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities.” For the Brooklyn-based artist Dustin Yellin, his toy box is full of everything he finds on the street—flowers, leaves, bugs, and even dead rats, which are then composed into three-dimensional collages and sealed behind resin.
In his most recent series “Psychogeographies,” Yellin uses multiple layers of glass, each covered in detailed imagery, to create a single intricate, three-dimensional collage with a mix of magazine cut-outs and acrylic paint. When pressed to describe what he does, Yellin struggles, but not with a lack of words. Here is an excerpt from a mini-essay “concerning the difficulty of saying something about what I do.”
“Is it a copout to say “the work speaks for itself”?
I feel like it is
But I’m also awful talking about what the work is.
So sometimes I say “it speaks for itself”
But what does that even mean?
However, he does offer some advice:
First and foremost, they’re massive see-through blocks
And that’s one way to read them, listen to them “speaking”
As massive see through blocks.
Another is to listen to what’s inside them
The forms, the clippings, the dead things, the painted things,
Frozen between the layers of glass, what I’ve called
The captured and frozen “dynamism” of culture.
This weekend Colossal saw the publication of its 3,000th post, an extremely satisfying milestone for a blog helmed for nearly four years by a single person. Though as the site has grown, my time has become stretched thin across a multitude of projects and lately publishing has hit a wall in the middle of the week as other pressing things have arisen. It’s time for some help.
Please join me in welcoming writer and artist Johnny Strategy who will become a contributing writer here on Colossal starting immediately. Strategy was raised in Tokyo and now lives with his family in Brooklyn where he has edited the very fine Japanese art blog Spoon & Tamago for the past 7 years. He’s already helped out quite a bit here on Colossal the last few months, contributing articles about ROA, textile artist Mr. Finch, and today’s piece on Japanese manhole covers. Johnny brings an extensive art background to his writing and will be a refreshing new voice here on the blog each week. Welcome Johnny!
Japan is a country full of amazing art. Some of it is housed within museums and galleries while others are right underneath our feet. I’m talking, of course, about Japan’s peculiar obsession with manhole covers. Just about anywhere in the country you can find stylized manhole covers, each more beautiful and intricate than the next. For the past several years photographer S. Morita has traveled around Japan photographing artistic manhole covers.
As to why this phenomenon developed, signs point to a high-ranking bureaucrat in the construction ministry who, in 1985, came up with the idea of allowing municipalities to design their own manhole covers. His objective was to raise awareness for costly sewage projects and make them more palatable for taxpayers.
Thanks to a few design contests and subsequent publications, the manhole craze took off and municipalities were soon competing with each other to see who could come up with the best designs. According to the Japan Society of Manhole Covers (yes, that’s a thing) today there are almost 6000 artistic manhole covers throughout Japan. And according to their latest findings, the largest single category are trees, followed by landscapes, floral designs and birds – all symbols that could, and surely did, boost local appeal.
Update: Remo Camerota has an entire book on the design of Japanese manhole covers, aptly titled Drainspotting.