As 2018 draws to a close we decided to take a look back at the most popular artworks, photographs, and yes, hydraulic press pieces we’ve published over the last 12 months. Although 2018 was the year Banksy shredded a painting in front of a live audience, hundreds of other incredible feats of films, art, and design have also caught our attention, including Julie Gautier’s beautiful choreographed video inside the world’s deepest pool, the concentric earth-based mandalas of James Brunt, or our continued admiration of Reuben Wu’s drone-assisted landscape photography. Take a look below to see see top posts from this past year, from our tenth most viewed piece, to the design object that takes the spot at number one.
This year we discovered our obsession with hydraulic press videos, specifically clips from Finnish factory owners Lauri and Anni’s Hydraulic Press Channel. The pair sets their press to exert over 2,175 pounds of pressure per square inch—smashing crayons, cheese, soap, and other semi-malleable objects into unrecognizable and often colorful tubes that spring out from the every direction.
Using glass cylinders and a variety of vessels, photographer Suzanne Saroff fractures the perspective of foods like eggplants, fish, and ripe bananas. The unique viewpoints shorten or elongate the provided edibles, creating distorted scenes that produce a creative glimpse at common fruits and meats.
Street photographer Jonathan Higbee walks the street of New York City prepped to capture unique and coincidental moments. Often graphic elements from vans, murals, and signage will be the key features that interact with everyday passersby, like the wide-mouthed shark and what appears to be a frightened pigeon in the snapshot above.
Although we covered LEGO projects or products five times in 2018, our most popular piece that looked at the stackable bricks was a campaign developed by Asawin Tejasakulsin, a senior art director at Ogilvy & Mather in Bangkok, Thailand. The designer imaged playful scenarios in which LEGO bricks interact with the real world, such as a whale bursting from the side of a bookshelf, or a fire-breathing dragon heating a pot of soup.
Our sixth most popular post came just days after the New Year when photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh captured Jamie Briard surfing on partially frozen waves just off the shore of Nantucket. Although the rare phenomenon of slurry-like waves might only be seen once in someone’s lifetime, Nimerfroh has been able to shoot the effect twice over the last few years.
British land artist James Brunt arranges and balances rocks, leaves, sticks, and other natural materials he finds within the landscape near his home in Yorkshire, England. After arranging each object into mandala-like spirals and concentric circles, Brunt photographs his creation and allows nature to again take hold of the materials.
Moments after Sotheby’s sold a previously unseen version of Banksy’s Girl With Balloon for over 1.3 million dollars, the canvas begin to shred itself into strips as it fell through its ornate frame. After the surprising incident, which had been orchestrated by the infamously secretive artist, he took to Instagram for a follow-up statement to the event saying the piece was “Going, going, gone…”
We are longtime fans of photographer Reuben Wu, who uses the aide of drones as aerial light sources to create incredible images of natural and manmade landscapes across the globe, including the brilliant blue rivers of molten sulfur in Indonesian volcanoes, and the thousands of glistening mirrors that compose Nevada’s SolarReserve. For his ongoing series Lux Noctis, Wu used light from his GPS-enabled drones to create a halo effect around cliffs and crests which are only perceptible in the resulting photograph.
This year Julie Gautier released AMA, a short film which is directed and performed by the deep sea diver and filmmaker. Gautier dives, twists, and dances within the world’s deepest pool, presenting captivating choreography nearly 130 feet underwater.
And finally, our most popular post from 2018 was a paper product created by the Japanese company Triad, whose main line of business is producing architectural models. Omoshiroi Blocks are stacks of laser-cut paper that when removed, reveal fantastic sites such as Kyoto’s Kiyomizudera Temple, Tokyo’s Asakusa Temple and Tokyo Tower.
Our editors want to extend a thank you for reading all of the pieces we have explored, obsessed over, and covered in 2018. We look forward to the spectacular artworks, science discoveries, short films, and other intriguing visuals that will be created and discovered in 2019!
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French street artist Julien Malland, known as Seth Globepainter (previously), currently has two solo exhibitions collectively titled Chambrum Rangeam, or “clean up your room,” at Dorothy Circus Gallery’s locations in London and Rome through December 24, 2018. The title references the common phrase uttered by ones’ parents in childhood in order to present a space of youthful freedom in the two concurrent shows. The exhibitions include new sculptures, like Malland’s piece “Scientia Potestas Est” (above) which presents a young boy on a stack of used books.
Malland also recently released a lithograph print that fuses the precision of printing with the often messy medium of spray paint. The piece, titled “The Ladder,” features a boy sitting on top of a singular cloud looking off into the distance. Propped against his resting place is a multi-colored ladder, produced by the artist in dripping lines of spray paint. For the limited edition, which was released on December 7th and has already sold out, Malland collaborated with the Parisian printing house Idem Paris. Although the base of each work will be uniform, his added hand-painted gestures make each completely unique.
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Lost & Found is an endearing stop motion film that chronicles a dramatic turning point in the sweet relationship between two crocheted animal toys. A foxy fox and smitten dinosaur have enjoyed many special memories in their adopted home of a Japanese restaurant’s lost and found bin. But when the fox topples into a fountain, the dinosaur must give his all to save her. The short film, directed by Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe and produced by Lucy J. Hayes, convincingly imagines the inner lives of its stuffed animal protagonists and uses the fragile nature of crochet as the crux of the storyline. Lost & Found has been widely lauded at film festivals since its debut this year. You can see behind the scenes of the film on the Lost & Found website.
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Copenhagen-based artist Matthew Simmonds (previously) carves miniature architectural interiors, angular shapes, and tiny windows filled with symbolic objects, trinkets, and animals. His ghostly white sculptural forms are cut from and presented within raw stone, which allows for a striking contrast between his designs and the medium’s natural surface.
Although Simmonds mainly focuses on sacred architecture, particularly from the Medieval era, he is drawn to how cultures overlap and influence each other. His work often references a variety of architectural styles in one piece, and sometimes presents abstract forms. “I get inspired by real architectural spaces, but the works are not reproductions of actual buildings in miniature, with the exception of the Elevation series,” Simmonds tells Colossal.
His sculptures take a minimum of three weeks to complete, however they can span several months depending on the complexity and size. “The longest I’ve ever worked on a single piece of stone was when I made Windows in 2017,” explains Simmonds. “There was around 180 days, or nine months, of carving time with more time spent on research and design.”
This particular piece was one of his most complex to date. Rows of carved openings collectively served as a curio cabinet, with each window filled with a range of creations, from a miniature iguana and array of small fruits to even tinier models of buildings and structures. Here Simmonds showcases the world in miniature, seen through the visual symbols of a variety of cultures. In the piece are also several references to San Francisco, as it was specifically created for a show in the Bay Area. To view more of the artist’s recent stone carvings, visit his website.
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Vorja Sánchez (previously) combines imaginative interpretations of birds, wolves, and hybrid creatures into surreal paintings and mixed media works that are diverse in both style and form. In the follow up to his popular work Bird Dialogues, the Spanish illustrator layers winged animals of all colors and breeds, presenting realistic drawings alongside half-formed birds that spring from the deep corners of his brain. You can see more recent illustrations of real and invented creatures, in addition to less public murals and less formal sketches, on Instagram and Facebook.
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British graffiti artist Pref (previously) transforms words and sayings into visual interpretations of their meanings or messages—forming the word “undo” into a knot, or layering the phrase “all over the place” on top of itself to take up as much surface area as possible. With added shading and perspective the words appear as if they are 3D, like his piece “It Is,” which forms a a narrow grey cube when the letters are stacked. Some of his monochromatic works on paper (which you can see below) will be included in the upcoming group exhibition Control and Disorder with Gary Stranger, Elliott Routledge (Funskull), Georgia Hill, and William LaChance at Galerie 42b in Paris. The exhibition opens this Friday, December 14, and runs through January 19, 2019. You can see more of Pref’s recent work on his Instagram, and buy prints through his Big Cartel.
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This past month the Amsterdam Light Festival (previously) opened its seven year, inviting visitors to observe 29 light-based works by international artists, designers, and architects along the canals and throughout the historical center of the city. Artworks were inspired by this year’s theme, a quote from media scientist Marshall McLuhan: “The medium is the message.”
Installations such as British artist Gali May Lucas’s piece “Absorbed by Light” address our contemporary obsession with screen-based technologies. Her piece features three figures next to each other on a bench, each head bent to peer at an illuminated phone. Guests can take a seat between the sculptures to get a better look at the piece, or simply rest and check their own device. Another piece, “Waiting” by Frank Foole features a paused loading wheel on the side of the building surrounding the silhouette of a person inside.
Many of the works are presented close to the city’s canals, making an even more spectacular scene when reflected in the water below. Sculptures like Jeroen Henneman’s “Two Lamps” pay tribute to this effect as the title references the lamp installed on the riverfront, and the one that is projected into the glassy surface underneath. The Amsterdam Light Festival continues to light up the city through January 20, 2019. You can see more documentation of this year’s festival on their website. (via Design Boom)
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Editor's Picks: Illustration
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.