Tag Archives: environment

Towering Murals by Blu on the Streets of Italy Confront Environmental and Societal Woes 

La Cuccanga, 2017

From climate change to capitalism run amok, street artist Blu (previously) pulls no punches in his soaring multi-story murals on the streets of Italy. While mixed with a healthy dose of sarcasm and humor, the inspiration behind each artwork is anything but funny as he translates searing critiques into aesthetically beautiful paintings. For instance a 2016 piece criticizing housing problems in the Celadina district of Bergamo, Italy depicts cramped residents as a brightly hued rainbow but leaves a small group of authorities in the lower right completely devoid of color. Collected here is a selection of murals from the last year, you can see more detailed shots by flipping through his blog. You can also get an idea of how he works—perched on a tiny suspended seat—in this short GIF.

Porto Torres, 2016

Celadina, 2016

Catina, 2016

Alta Voracita, 2016

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Colossal x Josh Keyes Print Release: I’ll Melt With You 

We are honored to have worked with Portland-based painter Josh Keyes on an exclusive release of the print edition of his 2016 painting, “I’ll Melt With You,” available now in The Colossal Shop.

Keyes’ ability to paint realistic renderings of our world becomes uncanny when he wields his brush in the name of environmental issues. Animals, rocket ships, and icebergs fall prey to graffiti, leaving the viewer uncomfortably wondering whether this is a painting of the future or a photograph of the present.

“I’ll Melt With You,” originally painted in acrylic on a 12 x 16 inch panel is translated to print form in its full dimensions, with an additional white border for convenient framing, for a final size of 16 x 20 inches. Printed by our friends at ioLabs in Rhode Island on Epson Hot Press Bright 300 gsm archival paper and available exclusively in The Colossal Shop.

Speculative Paintings of a Graffiti-Covered Earth by Josh Keyes 

"Descent" (2016), acrylic on panel, 8"x10"

“Descent” (2016), acrylic on panel, 8″x10″

Josh Keyes' newest series features subjects both manmade and natural, their common element being several layers of graffiti that cover a space shuttle, a melting iceberg, and even a whale’s tail. For the last ten years these marks had remained in the background of Keyes’ paintings, adding detail to the supporting elements of the environment rather than being integrated into the subjects of his work.

For Keyes, the decision to place graffiti writing in the foreground questions our relationship to the natural world, and what impact we are undeniably leaving on our planet. The iceberg for instance, is marked with the words, “I’ll melt with you.” This blood red message could be the voice of both the iceberg and the tagger, a warning that we will all be melting if we continue to desecrate the Earth.

“Are there things and places that graffiti should not be?” asked Keyes to Colossal. “Who is to say what surface is to be kept graffiti clean? My personal concern is that this will be a reality some day and speaks to a larger issue of our relationship with the natural world. The satellite and space graffiti hints that even if we colonize other worlds, what mark will we leave? No matter where we go there is evidence of our presence.”

Keyes’ will exhibit his paintings later this year with Thinkspace Gallery in LA. You can see more of his works on his Instagram and website.

"Tin Can" (2016), acrylic on panel, 24"x48", all images via Josh Keyes

“Tin Can” (2016), acrylic on panel, 24″x48″, all images via Josh Keyes

"Tin Can" (2016), acrylic on panel, 24"x48"

“Tin Can” (2016), acrylic on panel, 24″x48″

"I'll Melt With You" (2016), acrylic on panel, 12"x18"

“I’ll Melt With You” (2016), acrylic on panel, 12″x16″

"Frontier 2" (2016), acrylic on panel, 12"x16"

“Frontier 2″ (2016), acrylic on panel, 12″x16”

"Frontier" (2015), acrylic on panel, 19"x24"

“Frontier” (2015), acrylic on panel, 19″x24″

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Members of a Brazilian Indigenous Tribe Projected Onto the Amazon Rainforest by Photographer Philippe Echaroux 

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In a gesture to draw attention to the massive deforestation ravaging the Amazon rainforest, French photographer and street artist Philippe Echaroux projected the faces of indigenous Brazilians onto the forest’s trees. The projected images demonstrate the deep connection between the rainforest and its inhabitants, acknowledging the need for the preservation of their home and resources.

The photographs focus on the Suruí tribe of Brazil which is led by Chief Almir Surui Narayamoga and was asked by the Brazilian government to help replant their section of the rainforest in order to ensure and protect its longevity. Echaroux was invited by Chief Narayamoga to bring attention to the issue, which he highlighted through his projections.

Photographs from this series will be on display in the exhibition “The Crying Forest” at Galerie Taglialatella in Paris opening November 11 and running through December 15, 2016. You can see more of Echaroux’s work on his websiteInstagram, and Facebook, as well as a behind-the-scenes making of his work (in French) below. (via PetaPixel)

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Bright Environmental Paintings Focused on Survival by Artist Julie Heffernan 

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Artist Julie Heffernan's paintings are technically complicated, layers of detail filling her often 5-foot-tall canvases. Although enchanting, her environments reference disaster and distress, situations that peek into how we might reposition ourselves in nature after massive traumas such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

“We are slowly making our world unlivable, and I want to bring to the surface the destructive action, waster, and contamination that is generally invisible to us,” says Heffernan in her artist statement. “I need to imagine another way, to outfit myself with signs and banners that speak louder than I can, to envision how we might remake the world as it is slowly falling apart.”

Another far lighter inspiration Heffernan works with in her paintings is the childhood game of Chutes and Ladders. Like the climbing, twisting, and meandering board game, her paintings allow the eye to crawl up, down, and around the forests and mountains she paints. You can see more of these ambitious landscape works on her portfolio site, and read her own thoughts on painting on her blog, Painters on Paintings. (via Booooooom)

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The Good of the Hive: Artist Matthew Willey Travels the World to Paint 50,000 Bees 

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In an effort to raise awareness about the plight of the humble honey bee, New York-based artist Matt Willey founded the Good of the Hive Initiative, an ambitious project to personally paint 50,000 bees in murals around the world. The number itself isn’t arbitrary, it takes about that many bees to sustain a healthy beehive. So far Willey has completed 7 murals including a large piece at the Burt’s Bees headquarters, and he keeps meticulous notes about the number of bees in each piece which he shares on his website.

For more info you can read an interview with the artist at the Center for Humans and Nature website, and follow his progress on Instagram. And for more bee-centric murals, also check out London-based artist Louis Masai Michel’s similar Save the Bees project. (thnx, Laura!)

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