Animation Colossal Design

Interview: Production Designer Liz Toonkel Describes Creating the Adorable Universe of ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’

August 16, 2022

Christopher Jobson

A tiny mollusk with a big personality, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is famous for quirky antics and endlessly entertaining use of human-sized objects. In a new interview supported by Colossal Members, production designer Liz Toonkel discusses building the universe the adorable character occupies in the feature-length mockumentary released this summer from A24.

All of those little details that you wouldn’t think about, when you watch it they give it an inherent truth because everything feels like it does in our real world. Same thing with the garden. Those are real plants. That’s so rare in stop motion that you have real organic materials. It’s pretty much impossible to stop-motion animate with them because they decompose. There was a lot of thought put into how to bring organic, real life to the things around Marcel.

Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson recently sat down with Toonkel to discuss building a realistic micro world within a macro setting, the challenges of blending live-action with stop-motion animation, and why the tennis ball scenes are as impressive as the internet thinks. Read the full interview here.

 

 

 



Design

Filled with Light, An A-Frame House Designed by Naturvillan Functions Entirely Off the Grid

August 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images by Marcus Eliasson, courtesy of Naturvillan

Mimicking the peaks of the surrounding conifers, an A-frame house in Sikhall, Vänersborg, Sweden is designed for entirely self-sufficient living. The largely wood and glass construction is the project of Naturvillan, a Swedish architecture firm focusing on building homes with minimal impacts on the environment.

The triangular model shown here is “Atri,” a light-filled house with a wood-burning stove and solar panels attached to its slanted roof. Intended for energy production in both winter and summer, the two sources are robust enough to heat the water and provide electricity. For added assurance, the home contains another power source in case of extreme weather.

An on-site well also pumps drinking water, with any waste directed to the flower beds for filtering. These raised gardens line the perimeter of the first floor and are large enough to grow fruits and vegetables.

See more of the sustainable design and other models on Naturvillan’s site. (via designboom)

 

 

 



RISD Continuing Education Opens Fall Registration With 10 Online Certificates

August 15, 2022

RISD

Artwork by Lani S., Advanced Program Online student

Choose from more than 140 courses for adults and youth ages 13 to 17 this fall at Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education, including options for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Enroll by August 23 to save 10% with the code EARLYBIRDCE.

This fall, RISD CE online courses offer adult students a range of courses for all skill levels that can be taken at any time of day or night, from anywhere in the world. Our online certificate programs are designed for adults looking to accelerate their creative lives and work and join a community of certificate program graduates. Subjects include:

Animation
Graphic Design
Interactive Design
Interior Design
Jewelry Making and Design
Natural Science Illustration
Painting Studies
Photography
Product Development and Manufacturing

We are also offering a new series in Entrepreneurship in Art and Design for adult learners that upskills students and practicing artists to develop their business ideas, studio practice, and freelancing. Choose from courses such as How to Launch Your Own Art and Design Business or How to Market Yourself as a Creative Freelancer.

RISD’s Advanced Program Online is a year-round pre-collegiate program designed for high school students interested in pursuing art and design in college. This online intensive offers an online certificate program for changemakers who want to develop their art practice, learn new ways to collaborate, and create a future they’re excited about. Enrollment is now open for the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 sessions.

Our online classes for youth ages 13 to 17 allow students to grow creatively as they develop and refine their artistic abilities. Led by visual artists, designers, and educators, these programs journey into the artistic process where the emphasis is on thinking, designing, communicating, and creating.

The Fall term starts September 12, 2022, and many online courses fill quickly, so register today! Enroll by August 23 to save 10% with the code EARLYBIRDCE.

Browse online courses at Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education or register for RISD’s Advanced Program Online year-round intensive.

 

 



Art

Discarded Tools, Scrap Metals, and Fabrics Form the Spirited Sculptures by Mohsen Heydari Yeganeh

August 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mohsen Heydari Yeganeh, shared with permission

Artist Mohsen Heydari Yeganeh extends the life of broken tools, wooden handles, and scraps of fabric found in resale shops, stalls, and alleys. Utilizing chains for plumage or a long, steel blade for a beak, Yeganeh forms stylized animalistic assemblages of discarded materials, which he refers to as “flying garbages.” Conveying the awkward, jutting postures of birds or the broad stance of a bison, the spirited sculptures combine abstract components into lively, expressive characters.

Yeganeh is one part of Kasmeh, a Tehran-based studio where he works in collaboration with the artist Arman. You can follow their upcycled creatures on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Underwater Photos by Steven Kovacs Frame the Shimmering Unearthly Bodies of Larval Fish

August 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

A young Ribbonfish off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs. All images licensed

Set against the stark backdrops attainable only during blackwater dives, larval fish become strange, otherworldly specimens with glasslike bodies and translucent fins that billow outward. Their delicate, still-developing anatomies are the subjects of Steven Kovacs’s underwater photos, which frame the young creatures at such precarious stages of life.

Living in Palm Beach, Kovacs (previously) frequents the waters off the Florida coasts, although he’s also recently explored areas near Kona, Hawaii. Expeditions have brought encounters with both the elusive acanthonus armatu and a type of larval ipnopidae that hasn’t been documented previously. “Of course, we are always hoping to run across a never-before-seen species like the discoverichthys praecox,” he says. “To be the first to ever find and photograph a species in the wild is an absolute thrill.”

Next on Kovacs’s list are a hairy goosefish larva and a crocodile toothfish species. Dive into an extensive archive of his images on Instagram, and pick up a print from Blue Planet.

 

Acanthonus armatus off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Discoverichthys praecox off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Flying fish off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Larval fish off Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

A Caribbean Reef Octopus tending to her eggs off Riviera Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Larval flounder off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

“Fu Manch” Flyingfish off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

 

 



Art Illustration

In Graham Franciose’s ‘Morning Coffee Paintings,’ Dreamlike Watercolor Works Capture the Day’s Unmediated Emotion

August 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

Day 75, “Always There, Always Changing.” All images © Graham Franciose, shared with permission

Many days, artist and illustrator Graham Franciose sits down with watercolor, gouache, and a small sheet of cotton paper to paint a whimsical scene or surreal moment. A skateboarder carries a tree in a backpack, an anxious figure peeks through a colorful monster mask, and an oversized lion snarls at an approaching man. “I like to do these first thing in the morning when I am still not fully awake and start with a blank slate and no preconceived idea,” he tells Colossal.

Dreamlike in style and subject matter, the works are part of an ongoing series simply titled Morning Coffee Paintings. Since Franciose began the ritualistic project in 2019, he’s created about 450 pieces, which reflect a range of moods through mysterious scenarios and quiet, contemplative figures. “I put my phone on the tripod and start the timelapse camera and just start drawing.  I’ve noticed that by filming them it keeps me from second-guessing myself or spending too much time deliberating about choices like color or composition and forces me to just trust myself and my practice,” he shares.

An exercise in experimentation and releasing perfectionism, the paintings are also a visual diary of the artist’s practice and unfiltered emotional states. “Sometimes recurring themes, symbols, or concepts will come up in different ways, and they do evolve and change over time,” he says.

Franciose is currently based in Seattle where he runs Get Nice. Gallery. There are still a few of July’s original paintings available on the series’ site, and you can shop prints at Sebastian Foster, Austin Art Garage, and Bloom. If you’re in New Hampshire, you can see some of his pieces in the Enormous Tiny Art #33 at Nahcotta Gallery early next year. Otherwise, follow him on Instagram for updates on new paintings.

 

Day 76, “How to Be Brave”

Day 78, “Shroom Shade”

Left: Day 66, “You Haven’t Even Mentioned My New Hat.” Right: Day 26, “You Can Take It With You”

Day 47, “Defense”

Left: Day 52, “Onward.” Right: Day 68, “What Your Rings Will Reveal”

Day 71, “Not Rowing Just Going with the Flowing”

Day 23, “What Was and What Will Be”