humor

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Design Illustration

Hilarious Matchboxes Depict Cats Making Questionable Decisions

June 8, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Colorado-based artist Arna Miller uses vintage style packaging, advertising, and illustrations as inspiration for her goofy creations. The serious historical aesthetic and matter-of-fact text subtly ridiculous, finding humor in imagining animals experiencing human emotions, ambitions, and failures.

In a statement on her website, Miller describes her guiding principles as an artist: “My aim is to create narrative illustrations that depict magical moments…I often use text to tell part of the story, but like to leave most of the narrative up to the viewer. My guiding rule—which I sometimes break—is Possible, but Not Likely. For example, it’s possible for a vole to sit on a cigarette box and float down a river, but it is not likely. On the other hand, dinosaurs didn’t have laptops and headphones, so I would not draw that.”

The matchbox series “Strike Your Fancy,” which Miller made in collaboration with her husband Ravi Zupa, shows cats staying out late and making dicey decisions. The series is on view at Abstract in Denver through June 30, 2018. Matchboxes are also for sale in Miller and Zupa’s online stores. You can see more of Miller’s clever artwork on her website and Instagram.

 

 



Art Photography

Giant Humans Overtake Landscapes in Guillaume Chiron’s Clever Collages

June 6, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Collage artist Guillame Chiron combines myths of the wild west and mid-century domestic life in humorous collages. Playing with scale and context, Chiron inserts oversized humans into urban landscapes, or shrinks down people to fit astride cats or on meteors in the galaxy. Chiron has also published a book of 250 collages. You can see more of the French artist’s collages on Tumblr and Instagram. (via Lustik)

 

 



Art

Comical Combinations of Ceramic Animals Form Surreal New Figurines

June 1, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Debra Broz cleverly fuses found ceramic figurines to create comical new animals. From high-fiving horses to boxers with parrot wings, her work exists in the space where familiar and surreal meet. The artist shares with Colossal, “As I look for pieces that match in scale I’m brainstorming: What makes this funny? What makes this strange? How subtle or extreme does an alteration have to be to make someone notice?”

Broz also works as a ceramics restorer, and her professional training and experience gives her the tools to create these seamless amalgamations without making molds or fully recreating the component torsos, heads, and limbs. The Los Angeles-based artist describes her mixed influences of mythology and biology:

I play on the idea of the “mad scientist”, cutting things apart and forming them into something else, like Dr. Moreau or Dr. Frankenstein, but I often find my initial inspiration in the biological world. Some pretty amazing mutations, anomalies and unusual traits have been found in animals over history. “Freaks” have always amazed, but also amused and often frightened people – they are a source of mythology and folklore that is pervasive.

Upcoming projects include a book, scheduled for 2019, and new figurines that branch out to include different materials. You can stay up to date on Broz’s work and see behind-the-scenes on her Instagram. (via Lustik)

 

 



Design

Contemporary Takes on Cuckoo Clocks by Guido Zimmerman Resemble Brutalist Block Buildings

May 29, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

German multidisciplinary artist Guido Zimmermann reinterprets the iconic German cuckoo clock using examples of modern architecture. The artist notes that while “the classic cuckoo clock stands for the prosperity of the middle class and counts as a kind of luxury for the staid home, the updated version as a panel construction shows today’s urban and social life in apartment blocks.”

Zimmermann drew on specific examples of modern architecture to create his sculptural “Cuckoo Blocks,” including the Glenkerry House by Brutalist architect Ernő Goldfinger and Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer’s Flaine hotel. Grids of windows peek out of flat concrete surfaces, with contemporary details such as satellite dishes and cactus houseplants.

The artist studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in his native city of Frankfurt, where he currently lives and works. You can see more of Zimmermann’s diverse projects, including paintings and murals, on his website, as well as on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Art

Satirical Images of Virtue and Vice Painted by Toni Hamel

May 23, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

"The Impostor (George's Zebra)" (2017), oil and alkyd on cradled panel, 24 x 24 x 1.5 inches, all images via Toni Hammel

“The Impostor (George’s Zebra)” (2017), oil and alkyd on cradled panel, 24 x 24 x 1.5 inches, all images via Toni Hammel

Toronto-based artist Toni Hamel works across mediums to create drawings, paintings, and sculptures that analyze human behavior. In her two-dimensional work the artist often incorporates animals and icebergs being treated as art objects by men in lab coats and smocks. The male subjects are seen analyzing or altering the zebras, giraffes, and whales, painting over their spots or pinning on stripes with a marked precision.

Hamel describes her art practice as an “illustrated commentary of human frailties,” seeking to highlight peculiar behavior in humans. “Drawing from personal experiences and outward observations, I point to historical, social, and psychological references,” she tells Colossal. “Virtues and vices, the holy and the profane, the good and the bad, all share equal weight and supply as infinite source material for my investigations.”

Hamel received her BFA from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Lecce in 1983, and a post-graduate certificate in Computer Graphics from Sheridan College in 1991. You can see more of her satirical works on human behavior on her website and Instagram.

"The Heist" (2017), oil and alkyd on cradled panel, 24 x 24 x 1.5 inches

“The Heist” (2017), oil and alkyd on cradled panel, 24 x 24 x 1.5 inches

"The Watch" (2017), oil and alkyd on cradled panel, 24 x 24 x1.5 inches

“The Watch” (2017), oil and alkyd on cradled panel, 24 x 24 x1.5 inches

"Now You See Me" (2016), oil on Arches oil paper, 15 x 22 inches

“Now You See Me” (2016), oil on Arches oil paper, 15 x 22 inches

"Opening night"(2016), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

“Opening night”(2016), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

"The Pretender" (2016), oil on Arches oil paper, 15 x 22 inches

“The Pretender” (2016), oil on Arches oil paper, 15 x 22 inches

"Ceci n'est pas un arbre (pour Charlie)" (2016), oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

“Ceci n’est pas un arbre (pour Charlie)” (2016), oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

"Weathermen" (2016), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

“Weathermen” (2016), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

 

 



Art Photography

The Diverse Daily Life of a Ping Pong Table in Germany Photographed by Tomiyasu Hayahisa

March 29, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

In 2011 Tomiyasu Hayahisa started photographing a ping pong table located in a public athletic field across from his dorm in Leipzig, Germany for a series titled TTP. Tomiyasu had first noted the location after observing a white tailed fox perched near the legs of the table, and after waiting several days for the animal to return, he began to photograph the other life forms that congregated or paused near the outdoor game. Rather than spotting the fox, he captured families, partiers, and lonesome daydreamers using the area as a bench or bed.

“At the time I had been living in a student doom in Leipzig and it was possible to photograph from window the table tennis table, how people from different countries use it in their way,” Tomiyasu told Colossal. “And it could be the message of this work that the place could be everywhere.”

If you enjoyed this series, you might also enjoy Yevgeniy Kotenko‘s On the Bench, a project which observed the daily life of a park bench in Ukraine for over a decade. TTP has been shortlisted for the 2018 MACK First Book Award. You can see more of Tomiyasu‘s work on his website. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Photography

The Acrobatic Entanglements of Everyday Objects by Mauricio Alejo

March 20, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Photographer Mauricio Alejo uses everyday objects to create gravity-defying arrangements within his apartment, staging curious interventions and acrobatic feats on his kitchen counters and filing cabinets. Working within the confines of his living space has allowed Alejo to produce ideas as they come, rather than attempt to find the perfect backdrop for his spontaneous compositions.

“I didn’t always like the apartments I was living in, or better put, I didn’t always like the way some of the places I lived translated into the image,” explained Alejo. “They were somehow random and uninteresting, but I knew that it was just natural to photograph right where the ideas were conceived, besides if I started looking for the ‘right’ place to shoot it was going to be a never ending story.”

This immediacy of ideas has become embedded in the photographer’s practice, even with Alejo’s recent move towards studio-based photography. You can see more of his works on his website and Instagram. (via Ignant)