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!
I’m super excited to announce that Colossal has partnered with our friends over at the Pawn Works Sticker Club to bring you a pack of 12 stickers from 12 great artists including Ludo, Eelus, Gaia, Gabriel SPECTER, Left Handed Wave, MissBugs, ABCNT, DB Burkeman & Tristan Eaton, Sweet TOOF, Cryptik, Dain and Rene Gagnon. Stick ‘em to your computer, desk, trapper keeper, bobsled, or even your first born. The Colossal + Pawn Work Sticker Pack is just $12 and you get bonus Pawn Works and Colossal stickers. That’s 14 whole stickers! Boom.
It was a fantastic year for art, design and creative expression here on Colossal. Artists and creatives from a wide range of backgrounds and ages seemed to capture the creative spirit we love to celebrate here, from a nonagenarian graphic designer who began a new artistic career with an old copy of Microsoft Paint to a slick digital family tree timelapse that gave us chills. And of course there were photos of goofy dogs. Here’s a quick wrap-up of the 15 most viewed posts here on Colossal this year. You can see more popular posts from previous years right here.
1. Graphic Designer Dad Illustrates His Kids’ Lunch Bags Almost Every Day Since 2008
Some of us might have been lucky enough to get a quick “Have a great day” note from mom or dad tucked inside our school lunchbox, but the sons of graphic designer David LaFerriere seriously lucked out. The artistically inclined father has been drawing illustrations on their lunch bags since 2008, totalling an estimated 1,082 doodles and counting. Lucky for us LaFerriere carefully documented almost every single drawing and has uploaded the body of work on Flickr. You can also see a video where he talks about this ongoing labor of love on the Weekly Flickr.
2. Secret Fore-Edge Paintings Revealed in Early 19th Century Books at the University of Iowa
Autumn by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa
Autumn by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa
This amazing collection of fore-edge book paintings was documented online for the first time by Colleen Theisen from the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa. Examples of similar secret paintings date all the back to the 1650s and are apparently just as interesting nearly 360 years later.
3. The Pixel Painter: A 97-Year-Old Man Who Draws Using Microsoft Paint from Windows 95
Meet Hal Lasko, a 97-year-old man who uses Microsoft Paint from Windows 95 to create artwork that has been described as “a collision of pointillism and 8-Bit art.” Approaching a century in age, Lasko is now having his work shown for the first time in an art exhibition and also has prints for sale online.
4. The World’s First 3D Printing Pen that Lets you Draw Sculptures
This new 3D Printing called the 3Doodler stormed the creative spirit of the internet earlier this year with a Kickstarter campaign that raised $2.3 million dollars. The miraculous little device utilizes a special plastic which is heated and instantly cooled to form solid structures as you draw.
5. Shake: Hilarious High-Speed Photographs of Dogs Shaking by Carli Davidson
Shake is a new book of photos from Portland-based photographer Carli Davidson who used a high speed camera to capture hilarious freeze-frame shots of various dogs mid-shake. The amusing portraits seem to transform ordinary pets into strangely distorted animals right out of a cartoon.
6. Man Spends 7 Years Drawing Incredibly Intricate Maze
Almost 30 years ago a Japanese custodian sat in front of a large A1 size sheet of white paper, whipped out a pen and started drawing a diabolically complex maze. It was the beginning of a hobby that would consume his spare time for upward of 7 years when the final labyrinth was rolled up and almost forgotten. Miraculously, his daughter accidentally discovered the drawing when going through her father’s things and shared the masterpiece with the world. FYI: Prints now available in the Spoon & Tamago shop.
7. The Life and Times of an Aging Superhero Captured in Oil Paintings by Andreas Englund
In his ongoing series of photorealistic oil paintings called the Aging Superhero, Swedish artist Andreas Englund takes us into the candidly humorous life of an anonymous superhero who has probably seen better days. Though he still puts up a tough fight, the wear and tear of battling crime has taken its toll on this elderly action figure.
8. This is What Happens When You Run Water Through a 24hz Sine Wave
One of the coolest audio/visual experiments we saw this year, Brusspup demonstrates what happens when you run water through a 24hz sine wave and capture it with a camera filming at a rate of 24 fps. Hover water!
9. Timelapse of the Imperceptible Effects of Aging Created from Family Portraits by Anthony Cerniello
Watch the whole thing. With sound. Don’t skip around. Just let it play, or else you’re missing out.
10. Alive Without Breath: Three Dimensional Animals Painted in Layers of Resin by Keng Lye
Singapore-based artist Keng Lye wowed us with his amazing three dimensional animals painted in layers of resin, some of which even protrude the surface to create incredibly lifelike forms.
11. Banksy Has Unannounced Art Sale with Genuine Signed Canvases in Central Park, Sells Almost Nothing
In one his most ingenious stunts as part of his “Better Out than In Residency” in New York this fall, Banksy had an unannounced art sale in central park. Oblivious passersby had no idea the artworks that on any other day would have been unlicensed replicas, were actually the real deal.
12. Lucid Stead: A Transparent Cabin Built of Wood and Mirrors by Phillip K Smith III
Part architectural intervention and part optical illusion, Lucid Stead is a recently unveiled installation by artist Phillip K Smith III in Joshua Tree, California. The artist modified an existing 70-year-old homesteader shack by introducing mirrors to create the illusion of transparency, as the structure now takes on the lighting characteristics of anything around it.
13. Giant Chrome T-Rex Installed on the Seine River in Paris by Philippe Pasqua
Artist Philippe Pasqua recently completed installation of an impressive Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton that now stands watch over the Seine river in Paris. The structure is made from 350 chrome molded bones and measures a full 21′ x 12′ (3m by 6m).
14. 9,000 Fallen Soldiers Etched into the Sand on Normandy Beach to Commemorate Peace Day
British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss accompanied by numerous volunteers, took to the beaches of Normandy with rakes and stencils in hand to etch 9,000 silhouettes representing fallen people into the sand. Titled The Fallen 9000, the was meant as a stark visual reminder of the civilians, Germans and allied forces who died during the D-Day beach landings at Arromanches on June 6th, 1944 during WWII.
15. The Bizarre, Flexible Paper Sculptures of Li Hongbo
What at first look like delicate works of carved porcelain are actually thousands of layers of soft white paper, carved into busts, skulls, and human forms by Beijing artist Li Hongbo. A book editor and designer, the artist became fascinated by traditional Chinese toys and festive decorations known as paper gourds made from glued layers of thin paper which can be stored flat but then opened to reveal a flower or other shape. He applied the same honeycomb-like paper structure to much larger human forms resulting in these highly flexible sculptures.
The variety of the work is striking, yet even through their unique methods and mediums, the selected artists exhibit a desire to question traditional modes of artistic consumption. Here, notions of aesthetics and the politics of looking are always under scrutiny. Many of the works offer reinterpretations of art historical canon, simultaneously venerating and veering away from their antiquated source material. One senses a reverence for historical precedent, as well as a drive to reinvent contemporary ideas of artistic practice. Also of significance are the themes of fantasy and transformation. Through metamorphosis of the human figure (and the spaces it inhabits), these artists challenge preconceived notions of artistic authority, and pave the way for a new understanding of the impact of contemporary art.
After months of too much work, planning, and sleepless nights I’m proud to announce the launch of the Colossal Shop, as well as the complete redesign of the Colossal Blog, and as if that weren’t enough, a shiny new identity created by design powerhouse Scott Reinhard.
First, the shop. For years I’ve been meeting artists, designers, and artisans I’ve encountered through articles on Colossal and while it’s been extraordinarily fun to gather their work here on the blog, it’s also been amazing to have their objects in my home. Through their encouragement and my own desire gather together some of my favorite designed objects, toys, and limited edition art pieces into an online store, the Colossal Shop was born. We’ll be adding many more things over the next few weeks so stay tuned.
Next, the new look. The old Colossal site was getting a little shabby as it was never designed to work on mobile devices and lacked a bit of polish. So I set about a redesign and while I was plugging away learned that Chicago designer Scott Reinhard had recently left a long stint at the MCA and was open for business. We chatted briefly and got to work. The new logo is big, refined, and very flexible, expect to see new interpretations of it all the time. Thanks Scott! The new blog itself is now equally flexible and can be viewed on almost any device. If you see any bugs or weirdness please let me know.
Now, back to work. I’m sorry posts have been almost glacial at times here on Colossal, things should pick up swiftly now. A huge thanks to Eric Hazen and developer Derek S. Moore for helping with some heavy content and development work the last few weeks.
Our friends at Beers.Lambert Contemporary in London have just announced an open call for their 4th Annual Open Exhibition, Contemporary Visions IV, an annual exhibition that seeks to identify current trends in contemporary art through the discovery and exhibition of artists working in all artistic disciplines. This is an excellent opportunity for artists of all backgrounds and mediums to exhibit in a vetted, curated group exhibition in the heart of London’s vibrant art community. One or more artist will be selected for a solo-exhibition.
The show will be juried by gallery director Kurt Beers, artist Andrew Salgado, the Chair of Collections at Contemporary Art Society, Cathy Wills, as well as yours truly. So I highly urge you to submit your work, the whole process takes place online and will be open through July 1. I’m extremely excited to be part of this process and look forward to seeing your art!