Chinese artist Hong Chun Zhang creates graphite drawings that replace everyday materials with ribbons, sheets, or swirls of shiny black hair. The works, titled Hairy Objects, are intended to be humorous while also a bit unsettling, allowing the beauty of hair to also repulse the audience when caught emerging from the spine of a book or the spout of a bathroom sink.
The surreal drawings also focus on her cultural identity, especially connections with her family in China, and her identity as a woman and sister. The hair represents a powerful life force, imbuing each piece with an aspect of herself.
In addition to graphite drawings, Zhang also creates ink paintings in the traditional Chinese fine style which requires applying ink from lighter to darker shades through eight successive layers. The technique is very realistic and time consuming, requiring years of specialized training. Hong studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing for four years, as well as learned from her parents who had a strong influence on her artistic style at a young age.
In addition to getting her BFA in Chinese painting from CAFA, Zhang received her MFA at the University of California, Davis. She currently lives and works in Lawrence, Kansas.
Australian artist Andy Thomas (previously here and here) presents his first installment of Visual Sounds of the Amazon, a responsive artwork that alters its visual shape based on audio Thomas collected from the Amazon rainforest. The animation sequence is one that can hardly be described, as bright bursts of light escape a tangle of blue and yellow helixes each time a bird squeaks, with similarly colored balls orbiting the digitally-composed mass.
Previously Thomas has made responsive artworks to other flora and fauna, specifically using recordings created in Australia and the Netherlands. This particular iteration will be screened at Render, a festival of animated hybridizations in Lima, Peru. You can view/listen to more of his otherworldly and adaptive video work on his website.
Mexican calligraffiti artist Said Dokins combines calligraphy writing with graffiti techniques to create public murals that address conflicts of power, destruction, and control imposed by both historic and contemporary regimes. His latest project, Heliographies of Memory, uses luminous tools to explore displaced memory, creating light paintings that use famous historic buildings or other iconic sites as temporary backdrops.
“‘Heliographies of Memory’ consist in a series of photographs that capture the calligraphic gesture, the very moment where the action of inscription is taking place,” said Dokins. “…The texts are written with light, so the words disappear as soon as they were suggested by the moves of the calligrapher, invisible to the simple eye, they just can be captured by a process of long-exposure photography, that reveal what happened, even though no one could see it.”
Dokins collaborates with photographer Leonardo Luna to capture each of his ephemeral interventions. Together they opened the 2017 OASTRALE Biennale of Contemporary Art in Dresden with a choreographed calligraphy presentation. You can see more images of their project Heliographies of Memory on Dokins’ Instagram and Facebook. (via I Support Street Art)
Fiber artist Dani Ives conjures the natural world in her unique take on the traditional craft of needle felting. Ives describes her method as “painting with wool,” in which she applies her love of animals and her background in biology to build intricately layered portraits of a variety of flora and fauna.
Dogs, cats, birds, and farm animals come to life alongside toadstools and fruits, and Ives’ ability to capture the moisture and glint of animal eyes and noses adds an impressive degree of realism. While her plant life depictions take more of a traditional botanical angle, most of Ives’s animal subjects take center stage on the embroidery hoop, peering out at the viewer, further adding to the strong sense of unique personality, and it’s no surprise that she is in high demand for pet portrait commissions.
Ives sells originals and prints of her work on Etsy, and she continues her love of teaching by traveling from her home in Northwest Arkansas to lead workshops around the country, as well as offering e-courses in needle felting. You can also follow her work on Instagram.
All images by Jose Manuel Pedrajas, courtesy Lebrel
Spanish furniture designer Fernando Abellanas has carved out a new creative home in a section of Valencia that isn’t the typical artist neighborhood: he’s built a studio affixed to a highway underpass. The workspace is complete with a desk and chair, as well as shelves stocked with homey framed artworks and potted succulents―all attached to the highway’s cement framework. The floor and walls function as a self-operated horizontal elevator. Using mechanics adapted from a metal dolly, Abellanas hand-cranks his way to his studio, completing the picture of a cozy four-walled workspace.
As he described in an interview with le cool Valencia, Abellanas has a lifelong interest in refuges―locating peace and solitude in unexpected places, like under the dinner table as as a child, and now, hidden underneath the whir of traffic. The designer is also inspired by the way people with very limited resources use neglected spaces to create homes.
The studio hasn’t been sanctioned by the city of Valencia, so its exact location is a secret, and it will remain intact for as long as Abellanas is able to keep it there. You can follow more of Abellanas’ work for his brand Lebrel via Instagram and Facebook, and the video below (in Spanish) offers a closer look. (via FastCo)
As part of an ongoing body of work titled Personal Topography, artist Klone has painted murals around the world in this distinct, striped style. The paintings of creatures and people are meant as a visual metaphor for the ways in which personalities and inner identities differ. “The series explores both the way each [person] and other creatures have their own topography, represented by the topographical lines,” Klone shares with Colossal. “The simplicity of colour limitations provides the idea in a direct approach and there is a constant attempt to work with the surface and not necessarily make it disappear, so the wall stays a wall and a building is still the building.”
The works seen here went up in Canada, the United States, Poland, Norway, Ukraine and Israel over the last year. Klone was born in Ukraine and now lives and works in Tel Aviv. You can see more of his work on his website and on Instagram.