Doris Diether is a former journalist and longtime activist in New York who is often seen strolling through Washington Square Park chatting with just about everyone. Ricky Syers is a musician and marionetteer who encountered Diether the first week he arrived in the park with his marionettes several years ago and was struck by her outgoing nature. He immediately created a puppet in her image and the two have since become staples of the neighborhood who frequently appear in photographs and interviews together.
Filmmaker David Friedman made this great documentary short for AARP detailing the roots of their friendship and how they first met.
In this brief profile by filmmaker Liam Saint Pierre, we dive head-first into the strange mind of British artist and inventor Dominic Wilcox who’s been entertaining the world for years with his delightfully impractical ideas. His recent off-the-wall inventions include a stained glass driverless car, shoes with built-in GPS that guide you back home, and a giant listening device called Binaudios that mimic tourist binoculars for the purpose of listening to a city. “Let’s do the ridiculous and by doing the ridiculous something else might come of it,” Wilcox shares in the film, perfectly encapsulating his entire artistic practice. He also just published a book filled with comic-like sketches of his most outlandish ideas, Variations on Normal, which is available on his website. (via It’s Nice That)
For their latest Op-Doc, the New York Times traveled to El Salvador where they caught up with Rich and Dee Gibson, an unusual couple who have spent their entire relationship literally playing with fire. Sparks first flew when the couple met while skydiving. Rich (a Vietnam vet) was the pilot and Dee (formerly employed by the Army Corps of Engineers) was jumping. By 1981 they founded a pyrotechnic business out of Rockford, Illinois and for the next three decades designed orchestrated explosions for air shows.
If the story of the Gibson’s relationship isn’t enough, watch the short documentary above to see what extraordinary passion and love for your craft looks like. The Gibsons mention that in 30 years in the business “no spectator, crewmember, or volunteer has been hurt or injured.” You can read a bit more over on the New York Times.
Here at Colossal we’ve long been fans of photographer Michael Paul Smith whose broad life experiences lead him to the creation of Elgin Park, a fictional 20th century town filled with miniature 1/24th-scale models of cars and buildings. Smith mixes his carefully crafted model sets with die-cut automobiles and real-life backdrops, taking advantage of an optical illusion known as forced perspective. The photos have been a massive hit with the internet, racking up over 70 million views on his Flickr account alone.
Smith recently sat down with documentary director and producer Danny Yourd of Animal to discuss his significant personal challenges and life experiences that are now the driving force behind his photography. This is a must-watch for any creative grappling with aspects of identity or personal history in their artwork. He’s is also on the verge of publishing a new book, Elgin Park, which is available now for preorder. Seen here are some of his most recent photos along with behind-the-scenes views, there’s much more over on Flickr. (via PetaPixel)
While studying graphic design in college, German artist Peter Dahmen was given the assignment of creating a 3D object out of paper. He soon realized a small problem. Regardless of what he designed, there was no safe way to transport it to class on his daily train commute. Instead of risking damage to his project, Dahmen devised a way to make his paper sculpture fold flat like a pop-up book, a fateful decision that changed the course of his life. He enjoyed the challenge so much that be became obsessed with creating more elaborate designs, eventually leading to a full-time career as a paper engineer.
Art and Craft is a new feature documentary about art forger Mark Landis (previously) who is arguably one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history, having tricked over 60 museums in 20 states into believing his masterfully created replicas are authentic artworks. The catch: so far, it appears Landis, who has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, has yet to commit a crime. While he’s caused headaches, confusion, and multi-year investigations, he has never sought to benefit or profit from his forgeries in any way. Instead, he enjoys the performative act of pretending to be a philanthropist who makes donations of obscure artwork to art institutions, many of which unknowingly exhibited the fakes, allowing Landis the secret thrill of seeing his work on display.