Craft

A Painstakingly Crafted Village Perches Atop a Wooden Tower in Ognyan Stefanov's Miniature Utopia

May 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ognyan Stefanov, shared with permission

Bulgarian artist Ognyan Stefanov pairs his day job as an aviation photographer with an equally lofty practice of crafting lavish architectural miniatures that soar high in the air. One of his creations is this utopic village, aptly named “Skyville,” which was designed as a self-sustaining enclave complete with shops, farms and gardens, a library, and a few homes, including the main house with the individually tiled pitched roof. Posted atop a latticed tower, the heavily landscaped town was designed to mimic real functionality with a water drainage system, pulleys, and walkways that climb from level to level.

Created at a 1/87 scale and spanning 36 x 16 inches, the 60-pound model took Stefanov two years to complete and is an amalgamation of wooden stirrers, popsicle sticks, and photo-etching techniques. Each scene is crafted with meticulous detail, from the luxe interiors filled with a chandelier, wrought iron bed frame, and framed artworks to the architectural elements like the wooden beams and circular windows. Even the minuscule characters appear to be in the middle of a task.

Check out Stefanov’s page dedicated to “Skyville” to see the work in progress and more glimpses of its richly decorated interiors.

 

 

 



Art

Assembled Sculptures by Artist Willie Cole Cluster High Heels into Expressive Masks

May 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Street Dragon I” (2018), shoes, wire, and screws on a metal stand, 64.5 x 16 x 15.5 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse. All images © Willie Cole, courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York

New Jersey-based artist Willie Cole juxtaposes readymade footwear and African tradition in his series of sculptural masks. The figurative assemblages stack women’s heels into clusters that are expressive and distinctly unique, an effect Cole derives from the shoes’ material, color, and pattern rather than a preconceived plan or sketch. Depicting exaggerated toothy grins, pointed brows, and outstretched tongues, the sculptures span more than a decade of the artist’s career and influence a new collaboration with Comme des Garçons that’s comprised of headpieces made with black pumps.

Each piece is layered with cultural and societal markers, including those that comment on mass consumerism, fashion trends, and notions of femininity. This context is situated in time and place, which Cole describes as “a subtle catalyst for perception. I have discovered that high heels purchased in New York are very different than high heels purchased in Georgia,” he says. Cole explains:

I guess you could call the high heel both an anxious object and a readymade aid. ‘Anxious’ because as a symbol, it is fully loaded with history and a story all its own even as just a shoe. ‘Readymade aid’ because that history adds so much to your interpretation and/or reaction to these pieces. As for fashion, these pieces speak about the abundance of discarded high heels in the world as well as the various styles and trends.

The artist is involved in a variety of projects at the moment, including a commission for Kansas City International Airport that’s an homage to Charlie Parker and a series of sculptures made with 75 acoustic Yamaha guitars that’ll raise money for music education. His work is currently on view at Alexander and Bonin in New York City and Beta Pictoris Gallery in Birmingham. This summer, he’s participating in a show at Hauser and Wirth and is involved in an installation celebrating a former Black neighborhood that’s opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this fall. See more from his expansive body of work that largely explores Black identities on his site and Instagram.

 

“Sole Brother 1” (2007), shoes, wire, washers, and screws, 18 x 18 x 19 inches. Photo by Jason Mandella

“Ashley Bickerton” (2016), shoes, wire, and screws on a metal stand, 63.5 x 16 x 15.5 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Street Dragon II” (2018), shoes, wire, and screws, 19.5 x 15.5 x 10.25 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Shine” (2007), shoes, wire, washers, screws, and shelf 16 x 15 x 16 inches. Photo by Jason Mandella

“Fly Girl” (2016), shoes, wire, and screws on a metal stand, 65.5 x 15.5 x 15.5 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Sole Brother 2” (2007), shoes, wire, washers, and screws, 19.5 x 16.75 x 18 inches. Photo by Jason Mandella

 

 

 



Design

A Mirrored Ceiling and Gleaming Tile Floor Turn This Chinese Bookstore into an Immersive M.C. Escher-Style Illusion

May 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via X+Living

X+Living is known for its deceptively designed Zhongshuge bookstores that mimic M.C. Escher woodcuts and trippy infinite spaces. The latest iteration is this dreamy location in Chengdu featuring bold archways, a reflective tile floor that makes the display tables appear like floating boats, and a mirror embedded in the ceiling to create a seemingly endless loop of stairways and shelving. Completed in 2020, Dujiangyan Zhongshuge has a cafe on the first floor, along with a children’s area occupied by a bamboo forest and pandas climbing the bookcases. In the rest of the two-story space, the uppermost shelves lining the winding walkways are covered in a decorative print, adding to the illusion of countless volumes and ensuring all 80,000 available titles are within a customer’s reach.

See more of the Zhongshuge locations, in addition to the Shanghai-based studio’s cinemas, family parks, and retail spaces, on its site.

 

 

 

 



Opportunities

May 2021 Opportunities: Open Calls, Residencies, and Grants for Artists

May 4, 2021

Colossal

“Easy Way Out” (2021) by Rustam QBic

Every month, Colossal shares a selection of opportunities for artists and designers, including open calls, grants, fellowships, and residencies. If you’d like to list an opportunity here, please get in touch at [email protected]. You can also join our monthly Opportunities Newsletter.

 

Open Calls

Backroads: The Art Less-Travelled at Vestige Concept Gallery
This open call from Pittsburgh’s Vestige Concept Gallery seeks artworks that venture off the beaten path, especially with regard to travel, and is open to artists in the U.S. and Canada. Projects could include hidden gems, special or unusual spots, wanderings, odd travel, strange encounters, and or “lost” and fading places. The $25 application fee includes two submissions.
Deadline: May 22, 2021.

 

Residencies & Grants

The Barbara and Carl Zydney Grant for Artists with Disabilities
This unrestricted grant gives $1,000 to artists with a disability who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. It’s open to visual, media, music, performing, and literary artists who live in New York City.
Opens: May 4, 2021.

21c Artadia Award
The inaugural 21c Artadia Award launches in Louisville, Kentucky, this month and will provide $10,000 in unrestricted funds to one artist living and working in the creative communities where 21c Museum Hotels are located.
Opens: May 15, 2021.

WIRED Resilience Residency
The WIRED Resilience Residency is designed for non-journalists to tell the most powerful and urgent stories from their fields and to start new conversations through written features, photo essays, data visualizations, podcasts, videos, social media experiments, and other mediums. The residency starts in June and runs for six months.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. PST on May 16, 2021.

Coney Family Fund
The Coney Family Fund will award two $5,000 grants to Chicago-based visual artists who identify as Black or African-American and are committed to sustainable studio practices and artistic career development. There is a $12 application fee.
Deadline: May 17, 2021.

Esalen Artist in Residence
Esalen Institute will bring three artists—writers, performers, visual artists, filmmakers, podcasters, activists, organizers, and ​philosophers, sociologists, and other types of social workers are encouraged to apply—to its Big Sur campus for a four-week period between June and September.
Deadline: May 17, 2021.

Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant
In its 2020 cycle, the Arts Writers Grant awarded a total of $675,000 to 22 writers. Ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 in three categories—articles, books, and short-form writing. Find more in the 2021 Application Guide.
Deadline: May 19, 2021.

The Farm Margaret River Funded Residency
Open to Western Australians working across disciplines, this residency grants one recipient $5,000 for research, creative development, and collaborations that are reflective of their time spent at the property. The artist will be announced in July 2021, with the residency scheduled to run for five to eight weeks between October and December.
Deadline: 5 p.m. AWST on May 28, 2021.

2022 AIRIE Residency
The Artists in Residence in Everglades is asking residents to engage with this question: how can we make the outdoors a space of belonging? Open to international applications across disciplines, AIRIE Fellows receive a $4,000 grant and up to a month-long stay in the Everglades. The application fee is $10.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. EST on June 1, 2021.

 

 



Animation

A Quirky Animation Follows a Determined Cactus Farmer as She Tracks the Man Destroying the Environment

May 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

A cowgirl named Rose and her eccentric pals embark on a mission to find the man damaging their local environment in the clever and fervent short film “Spell of the West.” Created by Los Angeles-based Sam Lane during her third year at CalArts, the animation follows the group’s wayward journey through the roving hills and sentient forests as they search for the ax-wielding tyrant who’s chopping down trees and demolishing their cactus farm.

Simultaneously witty and sincere, “Spell of the West” is imbued with magical undertones and a message that there’s more to environmental destruction than the loss of ecosystems. Lane explains to Short of the Week:

Most scientific work falls short of capturing the emotional aspect of human/nature relationships. In order to protect our natural surroundings, it’s important to know the dry facts, but it’s also important to establish an emotional human connection. Narrative is a prime rhetorical tool, and I was interested in re-framing the environmental conversation with a deep respect and poetic appreciation for the natural world.

To watch more of Lane’s 2D animations, many of which she creates entirely on her own with the exception of voiceovers and sound design, check out her Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Design Illustration

Shantell Martin Designs Two Decks of Playing Cards with Her Signature Black-and-White Drawings

May 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via Theory11

The Whitney Museum and luxury playing-card company Theory11 are teaming up on a series of artist-designed decks, and their first edition deals in British artist Shantell Martin (previously). Titled “LINE,” the same combination of Martin’s signature patchwork drawings and affirmational messages inscribe the dual deck, which is available in both a black and a white version. The line drawings are mostly monochromatic with the exception of bursts of color on the joker and face cards, which feature mirrored characters encircled by words like “wisdom” and “joy.”

Each deck is printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable inks and starch laminates, and the cards are canvas textured and blind embossed. Both the black and white versions launched yesterday and are available from Theory11 and the Whitney Shop. You also might enjoy UNO’s sold-out collaboration with Nina Chanel Abney and this revolutionary deck from Studio LO. (via Artnet)

 

 

 

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