Illustration

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Illustration

Face Masks Hold Fish Tanks and Overgrown Patches of Botanics in Surreal Illustrations by Kit Layfield

July 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Kit Layfield, shared with permission

A long way from the packs of blue, disposable masks many of us bulk purchased at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the face coverings Philadelphia-based illustrator Kit Layfield envisions are a bit more complex and otherworldly. He draws intricate contraptions featuring the traditional nose-and-mouth covering that then are connected to larger collars adorned with luxuriant shrubs, miniature ecosystems, and tiny fish tanks. The individual subjects all are situated within the diverse environments, providing the necessary structure to keep the micro-systems flourishing.

Layfield shares with Colossal that his surreal illustrations reflect a fascination with what he terms digital climate change. “I like to think of the various information ecosystems online in the same terms I would think of a natural ecosystem,” he says. “A fact can not exist alone, in the same way a flower can not exist alone. It needs to be rooted in something.” As media floods online, it becomes more difficult to wade through, which he expands on by saying:

The perfect example of digital climate change is the information ecosystem surrounding actual climate change. Every year, the information supporting climate change has become more and more undeniable, and simultaneously Americans’ belief in climate change has dropped. I think the information online backing up the truth of climate science is out there. However, the ecosystem that allows that information to survive and spread has been severely endangered.

Although Layfield’s illustrations are interwoven with fantastical elements, he hopes they inspire people to understand how connected they are to others and their environment. “Could somebody see a mask online, one that is so absurd it could never exist in reality, and make them think about wearing a mask in reality? I think it’s possible,” he says.

Find more of Layfield’s bizarre projects that merge social and environmental commentaries on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Jolly Characters by Artist Jean Jullien Overrun the Jardin des Plantes in Nantes, France

July 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

Photo by Jean Jullien. All images © Jean Jullien, shared with permission

Take a stroll through Nantes’s Jardin des Plantes, and you’ll find a playful cast of characters floating in a fountain, raking the grass, and joining hands to hug a tree. Part of a new exhibition titled Filili Viridi in the French city, the colorful ensemble was created by Paris-based artist Jean Jullien (previously) for the botanic garden in his hometown. Each of the characters is massive—the blush-colored creature spans more than eight meters—and appears to utilize the lush grounds just like their human counterparts.

If you’re in Nantes before November 2021, head to the park to hang out with the jolly group, to which Jullien plans to add a dozen (!) more of the spirited characters next fall. To dive further into his light-hearted projects, check out the artist’s Instagram and the range of books he’s illustrated, many of which are available from Bookshop. (via Juxtapoz)

 

Photo by Jean Jullien

Photo by Jean Jullien

Photos by Jean Jullien

Photo by Jean Jullien

Photo by Jean-Felix Fayolle

Photo by Jean-Felix Fayolle

 

 



Illustration

Imagined, Homebound Characters by Felicia Chiao Illustrate the Struggles of Mental Health

July 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Dissociation.” All images © Felicia Chiao, shared with permission

Felicia Chiao (previously) often channels anxiety and other complex emotions into layered illustrations depicting anonymous characters in a variety of states. The fictional works are connected to narratives of the mundane: a supine character floats in a bathtub, another grasps a coffee mug while peering out the window, and others sit idly. Despite their whimsy, many of the scenes evoke a sense of loneliness and feature a frowning face or dark, foreboding character looming nearby.

Chiao’s recent pieces often confine subjects to their plant-filled homes, a timely adjustment to reflect the current moment. “The drawings help me explore emotions that I don’t know how to describe with words,” the illustrator tells Colossal. She frequently shares her gel pen and Copic marker works on Instagram, where she says she’s grown a supportive, empathetic audience that resonates with her emotive projects.

Chiao currently is part of a group exhibition at Giant Robot and offers prints, stickers, and face masks of her fantastic illustrations on Society6.

 

“Peonies”

“Anxiety Attack”

Left: “Quarantine.” Right: “Bath”

“Better Days”

“Blue”

Left: “Nothing Lasts.” Right: “Strange Feeling”

“Flood”

 

 



Illustration

Playful Illustrations by Giulia Pintus Render Quirky, Body-Positive Characters in Relaxed States

June 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Giulia Pintus, shared with permission

Many of Giulia Pintus’s pastel drawings center on the beauty of imperfection. The Piacenza-based illustrator renders whimsical characters in repose or calmly completing mundane tasks like applying mascara and threading a needle. “I love drawing human figures,” she notes. “I also like to show the psychology of the character and to do so I am inspired by real people.”

The quirky illustrations consider the role of body positivity, which Pintus says is inspired by an organic source. “For some years, I prefer to buy vegetables from the greengrocer in the country. At the supermarket, they are all the same big, smooth, shiny, (and) look fake,” she shares with Colossal. “Instead from the greengrocer, the vegetables are a bit crooked. Sometimes they still have roots and a bit of soil attached. I think there’s a lot of beauty in that, and I look for that truth not only in food but also in the characters that I draw.”

Pintus’s drawings, which she also shares on Behance and Instagram, have culminated in a lengthy series of books, available from Libri.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Sinuous Snakes, Insects, and Florals Intertwine in Graphite Illustrations by Zoe Keller

June 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Where We Once Lived II,” copper belly water snake, graphite on paper, 14 x 14 inches. All images © Zoe Keller, shared with permission

Through a winding series of delicate illustrations, Zoe Keller (previously) explores the fragility of the natural world. In Scale & Bone, the Portland-based illustrator renders copper belly water snakes, San Francisco garters, and eastern diamondback rattlers through sinuous compositions that are ripe with skeletal remains, rows of butterflies, and dense patches of fungi. Each graphite drawing examines the tension between life and death and how nature’s processes are cyclical, including the shedding and regeneration of tube-like layers of skin.

Keller’s work considers the beauty of the limbless reptiles in an effort to subvert cultural notions. “Snakes, in particular, fascinate me as a subject matter because they elicit such a strong response in so many people,” she shares with Colossal. Scale & Bone is part of a larger effort to visualize the destruction of ecosystems and widespread loss of biodiversity. “Through the use of visual narratives that are interjected with surreal and magical elements, I hope to allow the species in my drawings to speak with urgency to the forces causing their decline in this time of human-driven mass extinction,” she writes.

Many of Keller’s projects fall at the intersection of art and environmental activism, offering
“opportunities to collaborate directly with scientists working on the ground to protect imperiled species.” The illustrator recently worked with Save the Snakes, an organization that steers conservation efforts and attempts to reduce harm by humans. Her serpent-focused poster will be unveiled this summer in time for World Snake Day.

Scale & Bone currently is on view at Antler Gallery, which is offering a virtual tour on its site. Follow Keller on Instagram for updates on her intertwined illustrations, and check her shop for prints, postcards, and stickers.

 

“Black Pine Snake,” graphite on paper, 34 x 43 inches

“Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake,” graphite on paper, 34 x 43 inches

“Eastern Indigo,” graphite on paper, 27.5 x 36 inches

“Memento Mori I” (2020), giant garter snake and pipevine swallowtail, graphite on paper, 14 x 14 inches

“Always I” (2020), New Mexican tidge-nosed rattlesnake, graphite on paper, 14 x 14 inches

“Memento Mori II,” San Francisco garter and cabbage white, graphite on paper, 14 x 14 inches

“Are We Ghosts,” graphite on paper, 27.5 x 36 inches

 

 



Art Illustration Photography

Browse Hundreds of Artist's Zines, Prints, and Other Works at the Virtual Brooklyn Art Book Fair This Weekend

June 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Kiss” by Sophie Page, four-color risograph print, white paper, 14 x 8.5 inches. All images courtesy of Brooklyn Art Book Fair

The Brooklyn Art Book Fair has moved its 2020 market online, extending the opportunity to pore through the offerings from artists and independent publishers to those who don’t reside in New York City. This year’s fair boasts more than 400 publications presented by 45 vendors, like The Free Black Woman’s Library, Printed Matter, and Paradise Systems. Founded in 2017 to provide smaller presses and artists the opportunity to showcase their work without a financial barrier, this is the fourth iteration of the annual event organized by Endless Editions.

We’ve gathered a few of the offerings here: Khari Johnson-Ricks’s “A real Conversation,” a vibrant screenprint of one of the artist’s incredibly detailed collages; “Friendship Forever,” a humorous collection of comics, by Inkee Wang; and Sarula Bao’s queer romance narrative “Changing Faces.” Browse the available prints, zines, and other artworks on the fair’s site, and pop into the artist chats throughout the weekend.

 

Left: “Changing Faces” by Sarula Bao, 7 x 5 inches, 10 pages. Middle: “A real Conversation” by Khari Johnson-Ricks, five-color screenprint on paper, 22 x 30 inches. Right: “Friendship Forever” by Inkee Wang, 5.6 x 8.25 inches, 24 pages

From the NYC Amidst COVID-19 Fine Art Print Bundle by Felicita Felli Maynard, 5 x 7 inches

The Free Black Women’s Library” poster by Olaronke and John Andrews, 24 x 36 inches

Mushrooms & Friends 2” by Phyllis Ma, 28 x 22 centimeters, 32 pages

Lost Things” by fenta, 5 x 3.5 inches, 44 pages

Abecedarian” by Ashley May, four-color risograph, accordion book, 11 x 9 inches