Tag Archives: environment

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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Towering Murals by NEVERCREW Confront Equally Monumental Issues 

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Swiss-based artists duo Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni are the artists behind NEVERCREW, a street art collaboration that now spans over two decades. Through artworks that primarily take the form of large-scale murals, the artists seek to highlight and ask questions about some of the largest issues facing humanity from climate change, immigration, and humankind’s exploitation of nature. Seen here are a collection of murals from the past few years including a recent mural seen at the Grenoble Street Art Fest in France and others from Cities of Hope in Manchester. You can see much more on their website.

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Wrapped: A Stunning Animated Time-lapse that Depicts Powerful Plants Reclaiming New York 

There have been countless films set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic New York teeming with wildlife and overgrown with plants, both Planet of the Apes and I Am Legend come to mind. In this animated short titled Wrapped from Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper and Florian Wittmann, we instead see the demise of the city as a vivid time-lapse that blends real footage, CG, and several of its own science fiction twists. The time-lapse begins with the death of a small rat that sets in motion the complete demise of the city’s human-made infrastructure that is quickly razed by super powerful vines. They share about the project:

“Wrapped” is a VFX driven short film by Roman Kälin, Falko Paeper and Florian Wittmann that combines Time Lapse Photography with CG to create a new reality. The short explores the effects of time and change focusing on the the world’s seemingly never ending cycles. The deterioration of one is the foundation for another. This fact takes on new dimensions when the unexpected forces of nature clash with the existing structures of our civilization.

Wrapped was originally released in 2014 and was screened at over 100 festivals picking up tons of accolades along the way. The film was made viewable online for the first time ever today. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

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Dramatic Aerial Landscape Photos of Our Impact on Nature Captured by Daniel Beltrá 

February 8th 2007. Southern Ocean.

February 8th 2007, Southern Ocean, all images © Daniel Beltrá

During his past two decades as a photographer, Daniel Beltrá has photographed landscapes in all seven continents, exploring equally the beauty and tragedy found in nature across the globe. Beltrá works mostly in the air, providing the viewer with the expansive scale of what he encounters while perched inside an airplane or helicopter such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which he captured over the span of two months.

Other locations the Spanish photographer has traveled to included the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans, and the Patagonian ice fields. Beltrá was drawn to each of these locations due to the complexity of nature found at each. He explains in his artist statement that the “fragility of our ecosystems is a continuous thread throughout my work. My photographs show the vast scale of transformation our world is under from human-made stresses.”

Beltrá hopes that his unique aerial perspective and subject matter instill an understanding of how we are directly affecting the environment around us and at the edges of the globe. Many of his images from locations in Iceland and Greenland were recently included in his solo exhibition “Ice/Green Lands” at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago that closed on March 5, 2016. The photographer also recently published a collection of his images from the 2010 BP oil spill in his book SPILL. You can see more of his expansive landscape photography on his Instagram and Facebook. (via Ignant)

August 19th, 2014. Ilulissat, Greenland

August 19th, 2014, Ilulissat, Greenland

August 24th, 2014. Ilulissat, Greenland

August 24th, 2014, Ilulissat, Greenland

July 7th 2014, Iceland aerials

July 7th 2014, Iceland aerials

Water in Iceland's Ölfusá River flows around sandbars towards the Atlantic Ocean, July 7th 2014. The Ölfusá is Iceland's largest river and its watershed drains 6100 square kilometers or 1/7th of Iceland, including the Langjökull glacier. According to a recent study by the University of Arizona to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, parts of Iceland are rising as much as 35mm per year; this is directly related to the melting of Iceland's glaciers and to global warming.

July 7th 2014, Iceland’s Ölfusá River

September 16, 2013. Brazil. Aerials from Manaus to Santarem. Photo by Daniel Beltra for Greenpeace

September 16, 2013, Brazil. Aerials from Manaus to Santarem

September 10th, 2012. Arctic Ocean. Greenpeace MY Arctic Sunrise ship expedition to the Arctic to document the lowest sea ice level on record. Photo by Daniel Beltra for Greenpeace

September 10th, 2012, Arctic Ocean

Para, Brazil. February 11, 2012. Aerials south of Santarem and along the road BR163. Rainforest in the Tapajós River, coordinates: -4.737923-56.448047. Photo by Daniel Beltra for Greenpeace

February 11, 2012, Para, Brazil

Louisiana (USA). May 6th, 2010. Aerial view of the oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, the BP leased oil platform exploded April 20 and sank after burning. Leaking an estimate of more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil per day from the broken pipeline to the sea. Eleven workers are missing, presumed dead. Photo by Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace

May 6th, 2010, Aerial view of the oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead

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New Ceramic Coral Reefs by Courtney Mattison Draw Attention to Earth’s Changing Oceans 

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“Aqueduct” (2016), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 8 x 8 x 1 feet, all images via Courtney Mattison

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“Aqueduct” (2016), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 8 x 8 x 1 feet

Doubling as an artist and ocean advocate, Courtney Mattison (previously) produces large-scale ceramic installations that draw attention to conservation of our planet’s seas. Her latest installation “Aqueduct” showcases hundreds of porcelain sea creatures including anemones, sponges, and coral sprouting from a porcelain air duct. The piece asks us to imagine the plight of these undersea creatures as tropical sea temperatures begin to rise, asking where they might migrate to once their homes have been rendered uninhabitable.

In addition to large-scale installations, Mattison also sculpts more intimate vignettes. Her series “Hope Spots” depicts areas in our seas that are critical to the overall health of the ecosystem. Each of the sculptures is a representation of one of these spots as identified by Mattison’s longtime hero and marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle.

The Denver-based artist studied marine ecology and ceramics at Skidmore College and received a Master of Arts degree in environmental studies from Brown University. Last year she was named one of the top 100 “Ocean Heroes” by Origin Magazine. Her most recent exhibition is “Sea Change” currently at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art through April 17, 2016. You can see more of Mattison’s finished and in-progress installations on her Instagram.

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“Aqueduct” (2016), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 8 x 8 x 1 feet

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“Aqueduct” (2016), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 8 x 8 x 1 feet

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“Coral Sea II” (2015), glazed stoneware + porcelain, 17 x 16.5 x 11.5 inches

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“Chagos Archipelago II” (2015), glazed stoneware + porcelain, 17 x 16 x 9 inches

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“Outer Seychelles II” (2015), glazed stoneware, 17 x 16 x 9 inches

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“Micronesian Islands” (2015), glazed stoneware + porcelain, 17 x 17.5 x 12.5 inches

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Landscapes Painted on the Surfaces of Cut Logs by Alison Moritsugu 

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When European settlers arrived throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and rapidly expanded their territory across North America, the prevalent belief was that of Manifest Destiny. Specifically, that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent by any means necessary regardless of cost, environmental impact, or the devastating harm to Native American populations. The artwork of the period, primarily sweeping landscapes influenced by the European pastoral tradition, did well to capture the pristine beauty of the previously undocumented continent, but completely glossed over the reality of what was really happening.

In her log paintings, artist Alison Moritsugu faces that strange juxtaposition head-on by choosing a literal meataphor—the remains of downed trees—as a canvas for her bucolic oil paintings of the countryside where that very tree may have once originated. A fantastic collision of art history and environmental awareness. The rough edges of the cut branches and trunks appear like windows into the past, telling a story that the tree’s rings alone cannot. She shares via her artist statement:

Painters throughout art history from the Northern Song, Baroque, Rococo and Hudson River School tailored their depictions of nature to serve an artistic narrative. Today, photoshopped images of verdant forests and unspoiled beaches invite us to vacation and sightsee, providing a false sense of assurance that the wilderness will always exist. By exploring idealized views of nature, my work acknowledges our more complex and precarious relationship with the environment.

It should be noted that Moritsugu uses salvaged log segments from naturally fallen trees, or trees that would otherwise be turned into mulch. You can see a collection of new work starting November 12th at Littlejohn Contemporary in New York. (via My Modern Met)

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