Tag Archives: environment

Washed Up: Alejandro Duran’s Site-Specific Found Plastic and Trash Installations

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Working along a single stretch of coastline in Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally-protected reserve, artist Alejandro Duran collects countless bits of trash that washes up from locations around the world. So far he’s discovered plastic debris from dozens of countries on this shore of the Caribbean coast which he utilizes for site site-specific installations for an ongoing project titled Washed Up. By creating aesthetically pleasing landscapes from a disheartening medium, it’s Duran’s hope to create a harsh juxtaposition that draws attention to the global catastrophe of ocean pollution. He shares in a statement about Washed Up:

Over the course of this project, I have identified plastic waste from fifty nations on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an. I have used this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures. Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.

More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament. The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our disposable culture.

Duran just received the Juror’s Award from CENTER for his efforts, and has upcoming exhibitions at Habana Outpost in Brooklyn and at the XO KI’IN Retreat Center. (via This Isn’t Happiness, LENSCRATCH)

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The Ballad of Holland Island House: An Animated Short Created by Painting with Clay on Glass

Built in the late 1880s, Holland Island House was the last surviving structure on an rapidly eroding island in the Chesapeake Bay. The island’s inhabitants were forced from the island in the 1920s, but this one Victorian structure stood for decades as the land around it disappeared. After numerous attempts to save it, the house finally collapsed into the ocean in October of 2010.

In her stop-motion short The Ballad of Holland Island House, animator Lynn Tomlinson shares the story of the house through an innovative clay-on-glass animation technique. Every single frame was painted by hand with clay and photographed, a medium that lends itself perfectly to depicting ocean currents, memory, and the passage of time. Music by Anna & Elizabeth.

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A London Street Artist Paints Swarms of Bees on Urban Walls to Raise Awareness of Colony Collapse Disorder

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Street artist Louis Masai Michel is on a one-man mission to raise awareness of the plight of the humble honey bee through his Save the Bees mural project . The murals began shortly after Michel returned from a trip to South Africa where he was painting endangered animals, when he began to learn about about bees and the grave implications of colony collapse disorder. He immediately set out to paint a series of murals incorporating bees on walls around London in May of last year, but the endeavor proved wildly popular and has since spread to Bristol, Devon, Glastonbury, Croatia, New York, Miami, and New Orleans. Many of the bee works were done in collaboration with artist Jim Vision, including pieces in Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, and Hackney.

Michel is currently taking a break from bees to open a show of unrelated artwork at Lollipop Gallery later next month, but plans are in the making for a phase two sometime next year. You can see more of his bee work in this gallery.

We learned about this Michel’s #SavetheBees work through a collaboration between Sony’s #FutureofCities project and photographer Abbie Trayler-Smith who has been documenting urban beekeeping in London. You can read a short interview with her here.

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Photo by Abbie Trayler-Smith courtesy Sony’s #FutureofCities

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Photo by Abbie Trayler-Smith courtesy Sony’s #FutureofCities

Update: Updated to include information about collaborating artist Jim Vision.

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Flowing City Maps Imagine the Influence of Cities on the Environment

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As part of a new exhibition in Venice that explores the relationship between cities and inhabitants, digital artist and illustrator Istvan (previously) created a series of city maps that seem to bleed into their surroundings. The works aren’t scientific by any means, but are meant as a representation of how cities might affect the local environment. The maps were created digitally and printed on large slabs of acrylic glass for display as part of Contemporary Venice through January 2015. You can see much more over on Behance.

Ocean Atlas: A Massive Submerged Girl Carries the Weight of the Ocean

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Installed earlier this month on the western coastline of New Providence in Nassau, Bahamas, “Ocean Atlas,” is the lastest underwater sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (previously), known for his pioneering effort to build submerged sculpture parks in oceans around the world. Taylor’s cement figures are constructed with a sustainable pH-neutral material that encourages the growth of coral and other marine wildlife, effectively forming an artificial reef that draws tourists away from diving hotspots in over-stressed areas.

Towering 18 feet tall and weighing in at more than 60 tons, Ocean Atlas is reportedly the largest sculpture ever deployed underwater. The artwork depicts a local Bahamian girl carrying the weight of the ocean above her in reference to the Ancient Greek myth of Atlas, the primordial Titan who held up the celestial spheres. The piece was commissioned by B.R.E.E.F (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation), as part of an ongoing effort to build an underwater sculpture garden in honor of its founder, Sir Nicholas Nuttal. You can see a bit more over on Atlas Obscura and at the Creator’s Project, who are working on a documentary about the piece.

Update: Creator’s Project just published their coverage of Ocean Atlas.

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Paintings by Michael Kerbow Warn of Dire Consequences for Current Actions

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Their Refinement of the Decline, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

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Their Refinement of the Decline, detail

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Diminishing Returns, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

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Diminishing Returns, detail

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Witching Hour, acrylic on paper, 34 × 42.5 inches

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A New Religion, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

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Hollow Pursuits, acrylic on canvas, 54 × 54 inches

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Fool’s Gold, oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches

Michael Kerbow is an artist based in San Francisco who works in a variety of mediums including painting, assemblage, drawing and digital photography. Of particular note are his large oil and acrylic paintings that depict surreal and at times nightmarish visions of the future, where industry and human development has grown without regulation or care for the environment. Kerbow shares via email:

My work explores the way in which we engage with our surroundings and the possible consequences our actions have upon the world in which we live. Through my work I attempt to question the rationale of our choices, and try to reveal the dichotomy that may exist between what we desire and what we manifest. Recently my work has focused upon the mechanisms that power our society and examines how they may influence the construct for a possible future.

Kerbow will have work at an upcoming group show called “Real Surreal” at Sandra Lee Gallery in San Francisco.

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Since the 1970s a Man Has Been Planting a Forest Larger than Central Park, One Tree at a Time

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Nestled in Northeast India next to the Brahmaputra River sits Majuli Island, a giant sandbar that happens to be the largest river island on Earth, home to some 150,000 people. It is also the location of the 1,360 acre Molai Forest, one of the most unusual woodlands in the world for the incredible fact that it was planted by a single man. Since 1979, forestry worker Jadav Payeng has dedicated his life to planting trees on the island, creating a forest that has surpassed the scale of New York’s Central Park.

While home to such a large population, rapidly increasing erosion over the last 100 years has reduced the land mass of Majuli Island to less than half. Spurred by the dire situation, Payeng transformed himself into a modern day Johnny Appleseed and singlehandedly planted thousands upon thousands of plants, including 300 hectares of bamboo.

Payeng’s work has been credited with significantly fortifying the island, while providing a habitat for several endangered animals which have returned to the area; a herd of nearly 100 elephants (which has now given birth to an additional ten), Bengal tigers, and a species of vulture that hasn’t been seen on the island in over 40 years. Gives you more than a little hope for the world, doesn’t it?

Filmmaker William Douglas McMaster recently wrote and directed this beautiful documentary short titled Forest Man from the perspective of Payeng’s friend, photographer Jitu Kalita. The project was funded in part last year through Kickstarter. The video is a bit longer than what we usually see here on Colossal, but completely worth your time. (via Gizmodo)

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