Colossal Interviews

In our ongoing interview series, Colossal goes deep with some of our favorite contemporary artists, designers,
and creative personalities from around the world. These conversations are supported directly by our members.



A Prison Art Community On the Power of an Annual Exhibition in Michigan to Support More Than 700 Incarcerated Artists

January 31, 2023

The Prison Creative Arts Project brings its community at the University of Michigan together with those directly affected by the carceral system through workshops, learning opportunities, and an annual exhibition. Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert spoke with two formerly incarcerated artists, Johnny Van Patten and Josh Herrera, and faculty director Nora Krinitsky about how creative practices function while incarcerated, why exhibiting and selling work is essential to the process, and what the humanity of art means in a system built on dehumanization.



Jessica Oreck of the Office of Collecting & Design On Her Enormous Museum of Miniatures

November 4, 2022

In Las Vegas, the Office of Collecting & Design is a haven for the minute, the small objects that have been broken, separated from their partners, or grown obsolete and somehow found their way into the hands of Jessica Oreck. An artist and filmmaker, Oreck serves as both caretaker and cultivator of this magical and somewhat bizarre “collection of collections,” which houses everything from handmade sushi smaller than a pushpin and a teeny-tiny tube of Colgate to stone marbles and limbs detached from toy figures. Oreck spoke with Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert about the origin of the ever-expanding collection of miniatures, how respect and intuition ground her approach to the objects, and the mysterious story behind one of the strangest items she’s encountered.



Rael San Fratello Navigates the Boundaries of 3D Printing, Architecture, and the Impact of Division

September 1, 2022

Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael of the eponymous studio Rael San Fratello foster a practice that transcends the boundaries of design, art, technology, and craft. Although their interests are broad, they’re always committed to the material and structural, to recognizing everyone’s humanity, and to finding sustainable, practical ways to create a more hospitable future. The pair spoke with Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert about applying their 3D-printing practice to larger projects, the role tradition plays in their works, and how, as educators, they encourage their students to embody the same innovative, endlessly curious mindset.



Jacob Hashimoto Relates How Layered Narratives and the Legacy of Landscape Abstraction Inform New Ways of Thinking About Space

August 23, 2022

In the suspended worlds of upstate New York-based artist Jacob Hashimoto, a multitude of undulating forms and layers begin with a single element: a kite. Each screen-printed disc is inspired by his surroundings, pop culture, and current events, and the individual components are assembled into fields in a vast range of vivid colors, patterns, and sizes, from wall works to elaborate architectural installations. His interest in the legacy of the gestural landscape abstraction associated with painters like Mark Rothko or Helen Frankenthaler translated the brushstroke into a repeating module or disc shape. More



Production Designer Liz Toonkel Describes Creating the Adorable Universe Behind the New ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’

August 16, 2022

A tiny mollusk with a big personality, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On captivated audiences more than a decade ago with his quirky antics and endlessly entertaining use of human-sized objects. The adorable character returned this summer for a feature-length mockumentary with brilliant world-building by Liz Toonkel. The production designer joins Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson to discuss building a realistic micro setting within a life-sized house, the challenges of blending live-action with stop-motion animation, and why the tennis ball scenes are as impressive as the internet thinks.



Swoon Speaks to Finding Compassion Through the Act of Looking and Unearthing Her Own Vulnerability

August 1, 2022

In some ways, Caledonia Curry’s work as a public artist has come full circle. She debuted as a New York City street artist known as Swoon right around the turn of the last century, and today, she harnesses that same energy into intricate—and intimate—installations set in museums and galleries. Swoon spoke with Colossal contributor Paulette Beete about how the act of looking is at the center of her practice, why she’s started to address her own trauma in addition to that experienced by others, and why her body of work to date is like a lifesaving yarn, a map of both where she’s been, where she’s going, and everything she’s learned along the way.

A Colossal

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Sailing Ship Kite