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.
Towering above the trees in a densely forested area of Indonesia lies a giant chicken. The gigantic structure has the body, tail, and head of the bird, even holding open its beak in what appears to be mid-squawk. Although the very old bird is quickly decaying, Gereja Ayam (as the locals call it) attracts hundreds of photographers and travelers to its location in Magelang, Central Java each year who are looking to explore the bird’s bizarre interior.
The building was originally built as a prayer house by 67-year-old Daniel Alamsjah after he received a divine message from God. Although he intended the building to resemble a dove, the locals care more that it looks like a chicken, nicknaming it “Chicken Church.” In addition to a prayer house, Alamsjah also used the building as a rehabilitation center, treating disabled children, drug addicts, and others. Alamsjah was forced to shut the center’s doors fifteen years ago after steep construction costs.
Currently five of the eight pillars holding up the building are crumbling while graffiti covers the inside walls. No longer a place for therapy, the building still serves as a place for worship and travel and according to locals—a private spot for many young couples to hide away from parents or prying eyes. (via Hyperallergic and Daily Mail)
Photographer Phoo Chan has seen more than his fair share of spectacular moments while photographing birds and other wildlife around his home in California, but perhaps nothing will ever top what he witnessed last spring while shooting near Kitsap, Washington: a crow riding atop a bald eagle. It only lasted for a few seconds, but Chan managed to capture the entire encounter on film. He shares about the image:
Crows are known for aggressively harassing other raptors that are much bigger in size when spotted in their territories and usually these ‘intruders’ simply retreat without much fuss. However, in this frame the crow did not seem to harass the bald eagle at such close proximity and neither did the bald eagle seem to mind the crow’s presence invading its personal space. What made it even more bizarre was that the crow even made a brief stop on the back of the eagle as if it was taking a free scenic ride and the eagle simply obliged.
You can see more of Chan’s bird photography on 500px and Flickr. (via Bored Panda, @pourmecoffee, Stellar)
Ah yes, the majestic pigeon. An unlikely source of inspiration for such dominating murals, but at the hands of Dutch street artist Stefan Thelen aka Super A (previously) these ubiquitous urban dwellers are turned into something surprisingly beautiful. His latest piece at top was just completed for Mural Goes in Goes, Netherlands. Check out more of his paintings and other works on his website. (via StreetArtNews)
Guy Laramée‘s (previously) new series Onde Elles Moran (Where They Live) captures the mystique of the native birds of the Brazilian region Serra do Corvo Branco (Range of the White Raven) through both portrait and carved landscape. The series contains nine sculptures sourced from secondhand bookstores within the country—tomes of the Classicos Jackson which is a series of literature classics published in the ‘50s in Brazil. The rich linen covers inspired the palettes of many of the portraits, the original colors working their way into Laramée’s artistic remodeling.
Although Laramée had originally planned to photograph the vast canyons of the region during his 4-month visit, the diversity, songs, and liveliness of the native birds kept persuading him to eclipse the beautiful scenes with their portraits. The series is dedicated to these birds and their habitat, each book containing a portrait of one on the cover against a faded background and an environmental carving into the pages of the book on the opposite side. The size ratio of the bird to corresponding landscape highlights the creatures’ importance, acknowledging their role as the true owners and rulers of the region.
“Being in the company of these lively beings were one thing, painting them was another story,” explained Laramée while discussing his process. “They became like ghosts on a theater backdrop, posing in front of wallpaper, looking at a vanishing scenery.”
Laramée hopes that this series exudes the stark differences between Man and bird, recognizing that we do not live within the same world. Man’s world has been transformed into an object from which we now feel alienated he explains—we live within our heads and books, not the canyons or earth. “Maybe where they live is where we should live,” says Laramée. “In the solitude of virgin landscapes, we might rediscover our intimate relationships to the world.”
Laramée is represented by JHB Gallery in New York City.
Photographer Thomas Lohr is known mostly for his high-profile fashion shoots for clients like Vogue, Le Monde d’Hermès, and i-D, but somewhere in his grueling shooting schedule he still finds time for personal projects, the most recent of which is a collection of bird plumage photos gathered into a limited edition book titled Birds. Lohr wanted to take a slightly different approach with the project and instead of capturing the animals in their entirety, he decided to focus on what intrigued him the most: the color, texture, and form of their feathers.
The abstract photos of wings, bellies, and other near unrecognizable parts of each bird are accompanied by each species scientific name like “Anodorhynchus Hyacinthinus” or “Geronticus Eremita,” creating yet another unfamiliar layer of abstraction. You can take a peek inside the book on Lohr’s website, and read an interview over on AnOther. (via AnOther, This Isn’t Happiness)