Illustration

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Art Illustration

Gemstones, Delicate Filigree, and Mechanical Gears Encase Steeven Salvat's Insect Specimens

November 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Steeven Salvat, shared with permission

Steeven Salvat (previously) evokes the glass-covered entomological studies of rare butterflies, beetles, and moths with an additional layer of protection. The French artist armors the singular insects with precious gemstones, silver and gold filigree, and rotational gears. Even elements of luxury watches, like Breguet’s Reine de Naple and an intricate dial from Vacheron Constantin, cloak the critters’ outer shells.

In a note to Colossal, Salvat writes that the growing collection of drawings is an “allegory for the preciosity of biological systems. A way to drive attention to our smallest neighbors on this planet—we need to preserve them because they are worth much more than all the gold and jewels I dressed them with.” Each intricate drawing is rendered with China black ink and watercolor and takes at least 50 hours to complete.

Pick up a limited-edition giclée print of an encrusted creature in Salvat’s shop, and follow his latest projects merging nature, history, and science on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

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Illustration

Life on the Line: 10 Artists Spread Mental Health Awareness Across Toronto's Subway

November 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Birdcage” by Marcia Diaz. All images © Twentytwenty Arts, shared with permission

Through an eclectic array of illustrations and photographs, ten Canada-based artists are collaborating in an effort to boost awareness of mental health struggles. Life on the Line is a new public art campaign spearheaded by Twentytwenty Arts that recently installed 200 posters across the Toronto TTC Subway. From portraits to abstract renderings, the vivid works will be on display through January 16, 2021.

Each piece is informed by the artists’ own experiences with mental health issues, including depression, agoraphobia, and anxiety, among others, that the storytelling platform Unsinkable will share throughout the coming weeks. “We hope that this campaign will bring people joy and comfort in an otherwise stressful and anxious time (especially if they have to be on public transit!),” Megan Kee, the director and founder of Twentytwenty Arts, tells Colossal.

If you’re not hopping on the subway in Toronto any time soon, 50 limited-edition prints—which are signed and numbered—of each of the works are available in Twentytwenty Arts’ shop. Seventy-five percent of all sales will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Family Outreach and Response Program. You also can follow Twentytwenty Arts’ outreach efforts on Instagram.

 

“The Fatherless Son” by Alexander Robinson

Left: “Load” by Dina Belaia. RIght: “I Remember It All” by Eric Pause

“I’M ON TOP OF IT!” by Faye Harnest

“Empty” by Julieta Christy

Left: “Untitled” by Ramune Luminaire. Right: “Agoraphobia” by Seri Stinson

 

 



Illustration

Painted on Vintage Postcards, Flora and Fauna Celebrate Farming Traditions and Wildlife of the Midwest

November 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Diana Sudyka, shared with permission

Twenty-seven years ago while studying at the University of Illinois, illustrator Diana Sudyka (previously) retrieved a bundle of postcards from a dumpster. The ephemeral correspondence revealed a relationship between farmers and workers from the Harvard area and a man named John Dwyer, either their accountant or investor who lived throughout Chicago, Cicero, and Berwyn. Dated from 1939 to 1942, the short letters generally contained information about livestock sales and farm expenses.

Now based in the Chicago area, Sudyka repurposes the envelopes as canvases for her watercolor and gouache paintings of flora and fauna native to the Midwest. “I have a strong attachment to the envelopes for various reasons, not least of which is that I was born and raised in Illinois, and spent a good deal of time in rural areas of the state,” she shares with Colossal. The penmanship, patina, and markings on the paper all inform her decisions to reflect a particular shrub or beetle duo amongst the remaining postmark and stamp. “I am drawn to the beauty of the handwriting on the envelopes, and the variation in the inks used,” she says, also noting her affinity for the assembled artworks of late artist Joseph Cornell.

Through delicate depictions of squirrels and long-legged herons, the illustrator connects her own experience enjoying the region’s bucolic settings with the decades-old content of the letters. “I often think about the wildlife that I saw as a child in those rural areas, unaware at the time of how much agriculture had already altered the land. And now as an adult, so much of both wildlife and those family farms are gone. The envelope paintings are my homage to both,” she says.

Prints of Sudyka’s postcard illustrations, which you can follow on Instagram, are available on her site.

 

Flying squirrel

Heron

Grey tree frog

Barn owl

Left: Milkweed. Right: Pawpaw tree

Blue salamander

Underwing moth

 

 



Illustration

Metaphorical Editorial Illustrations by Eleni Debo Incite Reflections on Contemporary Life

October 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Eleni Debo, shared with permission

Belgian illustrator Eleni Debo works within subdued color palettes rendering curious scenes that illuminate the human condition and modern life. Often supporting magazine articles or other editorial endeavors, Debo’s drawings generally focus on a moving figure, whether a woman attempting to work while she whorls around a red tornado or a single biker speeding along—her piece “The Road” was included as part of Colossal’s 2018 print show Chain Reaction. Largely situated in outdoor environments, the illustrations are rich in details that visualize a larger narrative about family bonds or the mental-health impacts of artificial light.

A tabletop game featuring Debo’s work is slated for release soon, and she recently was named the professional editorial category winner of this year’s World Illustration Awards. During the next few months, she’ll be working on a pair of illustrated books from her home in the Italian Alps. Until then, follow her reflective projects on Instagram, and pick up a print in her shop.

 

 

 



Illustration

A Curious Whale Explores Dry Land in Quirky, Melancholic Illustrations by Xuan Loc Xuan

October 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Xuan Loc Xuan, shared with permission

In a whimsical narrative by Xuan Loc Xuan, an adventurous whale named Lucille traverses a bustling urban center, densely populated forest, and other dry-land locales on her search for a new home. The Ho Chi Minh City-based illustrator renders the marine mammal in a range of playful and melancholic scenes, either resting on a bed of flowers or trapped alone in a city as the sun sets. Titled The Whale Gets Stuck, the vivid series chronciles the whale’s journey that’s ripe with nostalgia and longing for her ocean home, a tale Xuan tells in her book Babà la balena in città, which is printed in Italian.

Shop prints of the illustrator’s quirky pieces on Pinlze or at Toi Gallery, and find two of her other children’s books, Giant: A Panda of the Enchanted Forest and Snowy: A Leopard of the High Mountains, on Bookshop. Head to Behance and Instagram to keep up with Xuan’s latest story-based projects.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Monochromatic Illustrations Personify the Power of the Sun and Moon through Fictional Deities

October 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Sara Golish, shared with permission

In her ethereal portraits, Toronto-based artist Sara Golish (previously) renders lavishly adorned goddesses and gods that exude a sense of power and wisdom. The charcoal, conté, and ink drawings are part of two ongoing collections, titled Sundust and Moondust, that imagine a series of fictional deities. Each figure belongs to one of the celestial bodies, a correlation that the artist visualizes through the paper’s color, with a warmer beige for the sun and a cool gray for the moon. “I chose to keep them monochromatic so they could be imagined in any skin tone to each individual viewer’s liking—an ease to envision themselves,” the artist says.

In recent months, Golish has been working on commissions and new bodies of work across mediums, which you can follow on Instagram. To add one of the mythical portraits to your collection, see what’s available in her shop.