Art

An Artistic Endeavor in Brussels Installs Custom Mosaics Outside Your Home—People Are Choosing Portraits of Their Cats

September 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Cats, dogs, and other mammals are known to mark their territories in myriad ways, but pet owners in Brussels have discovered a more enduring and inviting method. What began as a single project by artist Ingrid Schreyers spurred a municipality-wide initiative: the government of Schaerbeek, a suburb bordering the city of Brussels, now installs any mosaic, either created by residents or a local artist, free of charge. Many people are choosing portraits of their furry companions, although the idiosyncratic designs range from playful depictions of wildlife to urban scenes.

We’ve gathered some of the street-side assemblages here, but check out this Instagram account documenting the public art initiative for hundreds more. You also might enjoy these Japanese manhole covers and a similar mosaic-centered initiative to fill potholes.

 

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

 

 



Photography Science

Mesmerizing Shots of Distant Galaxies and Aurorae Top the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

September 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Andromeda Galaxy at Arm’s Length?” © Nicolas Lefaudeux (France), galaxies winner and overall winner. “Have you ever dreamt of touching a galaxy? This version of the Andromeda Galaxy seems to be at arm’s length among clouds of stars. Unfortunately, this is just an illusion, as the galaxy is still 2 million light-years away. In order to obtain the tilt-shift effect, the photographer 3D-printed a part to hold the camera at an angle at the focus of the telescope. The blur created by the defocus at the edges of the sensor gives this illusion of closeness to Andromeda.”

The 2020 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest gathers a trove of sublime shots capturing otherwise unseen phenomena and distant fixtures of outer space. With more than 5,000 entries from six continents, the 12th annual competition includes Nicolas Lefaudeux’s photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy two million light-years away, one by Rafael Schmall that frames the lit trails of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites, and another of the Aurora Borealis reflecting on the ice by Kristina Makeeva (previously).

Starting October 23, 2020, the top photographs will be on display at the National Maritime Museum. Until then, pick up a copy of this year’s book that collects all 140 winning and shortlisted shots, and explore some of Colossal’s favorites below.

 

“Iceland “© Kristina Makeeva (Russia) aurorae highly commended. “Winters in Iceland require some training in terms of wind protection equipment. Iceland is a country with very strong winds, so a stable tripod is required to shoot the aurora. Many astrophotographers wait in a certain place for several hours to capture the Aurora Borealis. The photographer was lucky in this instance as she waited near Diamond Beach where the reflection of the aurora on the ice was beautiful.”

 

“The Prison of Technology” © Rafael Schmall (Hungary), people and space winner. “The star in the centre of the image is the Albireo double star, surrounded by the trails of moving satellites. How many more might there be by the time we reach next year’s competition? There could be thousands of moving dots in the sky. In order to create astrophotos, photographers have to carefully plan where to place the telescope, and this will be more difficult in the future with more satellites in the way.”

 

“Light Bridge in the Sky” © Xiuquan Zhang (China), aged 12, young competition highly commended. “The photographer visited Iceland with his mother in 2019. The sky there is wonderful every night. The photographer had never seen such a scene before! The aurora is magical, as you can see in this photo.”

 

“Cosmic Inferno” © Peter Ward (Australia), stars and nebulae winner. “NGC 3576 is a well-known nebula in southern skies but is shown here without any stars. The software reveals just the nebula, which has been mapped into a false color palette. The scene takes on the look of a celestial fire-maelstrom. The image is intended to reflect media images taken in Australia during 2019 and 2020, where massive bushfires caused the destruction of native forests and have claimed over 12 million acres of land. It shows nature can act on vast scales and serves as a stark warning that our planet needs nurturing.”

 

“Desert Magic” © Stefan Leibermann (Germany), skyscapes runner up. “The photographer took this image during a trip through Jordan. He stayed for three days in the desert at Wadi Rum. During the night, the photographer tried to capture the amazing starry sky over the desert. He used a star tracker device to capture the sky. The photographer found this red dune as a foreground and captured the imposing Milky Way centre in the sky.”

 

“Observe the Heart of the Galaxy” © Tian Li (China), people and space runner up. “This image depicts the photographer climbing the radio telescope and Mingantu solar radio telescope array. First, the photographer tested and moved his camera so that the M8 and M20 nebulae would appear right next to the telescope. After taking the foreground image, he moved his camera a little bit but still pointing at the same location in the sky, and captured the background with an equatorial mount.”

 

“Tycho Crater Region with Colours” © Alain Paillou (France), our moon winner. “The Tycho crater is one of the most famous craters on the Moon. This huge impact has left very impressive scars on the Moon’s surface. With the colours of the soils, Tycho is even more impressive. This picture combines one session with a black-and-white camera, to capture the details and sharpness, and one session with a colour camera, to capture the colours of the soils. These colours come mainly from metallic oxides in small balls of glass and can give useful information about the Moon’s geology and history. The blue shows a high titanium oxide concentration and the red shows high iron oxide concentration. This picture reveals the incredible beauty and complexity of our natural satellite.”

 

“The Green Lady” © Nicholas Roemmelt (Germany), aurorae winner. “The photographer had heard a lot of stories about the ‘lady in green’. Although he has had the chance to photograph the Northern Lights many times, he had never seen the ‘green lady’ before. On a journey to Norway, she unexpectedly appeared with her magical green clothes making the whole sky burn with green, blue, and pink colours.”

 

“The Dolphin Jumping out of an Ocean of Gas” © Connor Matherne (USA), stars and nebulae runner up. “This target is officially known as Sh2-308, but the photographer has always enjoyed calling it the Dolphin Nebula. It is a bubble of gas being shed by the bright blue star in the centre of the image as it enters its pre-supernova phase. The red star to the right could possibly be influencing the shape too and might be responsible for the bill of the dolphin. While it won’t explode in our lifetimes, seeing the warning signs are quite neat. It never hurts to say that the warning signs are the most beautiful part of this particular target!”

 

 



Art

Subjects Undertake Futile Pursuits in Satirical Paintings by Artist Toni Hamel

September 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Loves Me Loves Me Not” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches. All images © Toni Hamel, shared with permission

Based in Oshawa, a suburb of Toronto, artist Toni Hamel (previously) is concerned with human morality—or lack thereof. In her subtly hued artworks, Hamel portrays subjects in the midst of futile and trivial pursuits: children pluck stars from the night sky, a couple attempts to reconstruct a flower after its petals have fallen, and a young family literally watches wet paint dry. Many of the satirical pieces consider socially accepted anthropocentrism and the relationship people have with the surrounding environemnt.

Since 2017, Hamel has been adding to High Tides and Misdemeanors, an ongoing series that is intentionally political. “It confronts us with the repercussions of our actions and denounces the current thinking models. In this age of alternative realities, ‘fake news’ and a culture that is increasingly more self-absorbed and superficial, I feel that it’s even more important for me to carry on reporting what I must,” she writes.

Explore more of Hamel’s visual commentaries on culture and politics on Instagram.

 

“The Harvest” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches

“The Prototype 1” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches

“The Spill” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 10 inches

“Family Night In Kodachrome” (2020), oil on panel, 12 x 12 inches

“The Replacement” (2019), oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches

“Ikebana 1” (2019), oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches

“Ikebana 3” (2020), oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches

 

 



Art Food

Precious Gems Form the Unsightly Rot of Artist Kathleen Ryan's Decomposing Fruit

September 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Bad Grapes” (2020), amethyst, aventurine, agate, garnet, pyrite, ruby in zoisite, tektite, tigereye, turquoise, serpentine, obsidian, blackstone, Indian unakite, labradorite, Sierra agate, red agate, black agate, serpentine, quartz, marble, amazonite, rhyolite, calcite, dalmation jasper, glass, steel and stainless steel pins, copper tube, and copper fittings, polystyrene. 59.5 x 90 x 54 inches. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, by Marten Elder

New York-based artist Kathleen Ryan harvests inspiration for her oversized sculptures from natural sources: cherry orchards, vineyards, and mineral mines below the earth’s crust. She’s known for her fruit pieces that appear to be covered in mold, whether in the form of a deflated bunch of grapes or a pair of cherries spotted with fungi.

Ryan portrays the moldy substances through precious and semi-precious gemstones like amethyst, quartz, and marble. The materials’ durability and longevity directly contrast the decay they represent. Whereas the most valuable and lustrous stones cover parts of the fruit, Ryan uses simple glass beads to create the still supple portions, forming the bright red flesh of the cherry or the pockets of yellow rind on the lemon.

A virtual exhibition of the artist’s rotting sculptures, which sometimes span as many as 90 inches wide, is available for viewing from Karma. Follow Ryan on Instagram to see more of her work that explores the beautiful and the unsightly.

 

“Bad Cherries (BFF)” (2020), agate, amazonite, aquamarine, aventurine, amethyst, angelite, brecciaded jasper, garnet, jasper, labradorite, magnesite, moonstone, quartz, red aventurine, rhyolite, serpentine, snow quartz, smoky quartz, spotted quartz, unakite, tiger eye, freshwater pearls, glass, steel pins on coated polystyrene, fishing poles, 26 × 12 × 39 inches. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and Karma, New York

“Bad Grapes” (2020), amethyst, aventurine, agate, garnet, pyrite, ruby in zoisite, tektite, tigereye, turquoise, serpentine, obsidian, blackstone, Indian unakite, labradorite, Sierra agate, red agate, black agate, serpentine, quartz, marble, amazonite, rhyolite, calcite, dalmation jasper, glass, steel and stainless steel pins, copper tube, and copper fittings, polystyrene. 59.5 x 90 x 54 inches. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, by Marten Elder

“Bad Cherries (BFF)” (2020), agate, amazonite, aquamarine, aventurine, amethyst, angelite, brecciaded jasper, garnet, jasper, labradorite, magnesite, moonstone, quartz, red aventurine, rhyolite, serpentine, snow quartz, smoky quartz, spotted quartz, unakite, tiger eye, freshwater pearls, glass, steel pins on coated polystyrene, fishing poles, 26 × 12 × 39 inches. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and Karma, New York

“Pleasures Known” (2019), various semi-precious stones, shells, beads, wood, steel, plastic, hardware, coated polystyrene, iron trailer. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, by Marten Elder

“Bad Grapes” (2020), amethyst, aventurine, agate, garnet, pyrite, ruby in zoisite, tektite, tigereye, turquoise, serpentine, obsidian, blackstone, Indian unakite, labradorite, Sierra agate, red agate, black agate, serpentine, quartz, marble, amazonite, rhyolite, calcite, dalmation jasper, glass, steel and stainless steel pins, copper tube, and copper fittings, polystyrene. 59.5 x 90 x 54 inches. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, by Marten Elder

“Bad Cherries (BFF)” (2020), agate, amazonite, aquamarine, aventurine, amethyst, angelite, brecciaded jasper, garnet, jasper, labradorite, magnesite, moonstone, quartz, red aventurine, rhyolite, serpentine, snow quartz, smoky quartz, spotted quartz, unakite, tiger eye, freshwater pearls, glass, steel pins on coated polystyrene, fishing poles, 26 × 12 × 39 inches. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and Karma, New York

“Pleasures Known” (2019), various semi-precious stones, shells, beads, wood, steel, plastic, hardware, coated polystyrene, iron trailer. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, by Marten Elder

“Pleasures Known” (2019), various semi-precious stones, shells, beads, wood, steel, plastic, hardware, coated polystyrene, iron trailer. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, by Marten Elder

“Bad Lemon (Persephone)” (2020), Turquoise, serpentine, agate, smokey quartz, labradorite, tiger eye, tektite, zebra jasper, carnelian, garnet, pyrite, black stone, magnesite, Ching Hai jade, aventurine, Italian onyx, mahogany obsidian, vanadinite, glass, steel pins on coated polystyrene, 19.5 × 28.5 × 18 inches. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and Karma, New York

“Bad Lemon (Tart)” (2020), Citrine, amber, agate, turquoise, fluorite, prehnite, magnesite, Ching Hai jade, quartz, amethyst, garnet, labradorite, white lip shell, serpentine, sesame jasper, zebra jasper, grey feldspar, marble, glass, steel pins on coated polystyrene, 19 × 16 × 17 inches. Image courtesy of Kathleen Ryan and Karma, New York

 

 



Craft Design

Build a Miniature Hangout with a DIY Wooden Treehouse Kit

September 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Treetop Hangout.” All images © Tiny Treehouses, courtesy of Lars Wijers, shared with permission

A new DIY kit transforms any ordinary houseplant into a miniature haven complete with mood lighting. Created by Australia-based British designer Lars Wijers, Tiny Treehouses feature multiple configurations, from an ornate gazebo to a multi-roofed structure resembling tropical architecture. Each is equipped with LED lights (batteries included!) and manufactured to hang from a branch or rest on a flat surface.

Back the project on Kickstarter—$1 from every treehouse will be donated to restoring Australian forests—and follow Tiny Treehouses on Instagram for updates on designs and buying options.

 

“Tropical Lookout”

“Home Base”

“Tropical Lookout”

“Temple of Gratitude”

“Tiny Gazebo”

“Temple of Serenity”

 

 



Art Illustration

Vintage-Style Illustrations Merge Animals, Insects, and Botanics to Form Bizarre Hybrid Creatures

September 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Mark Brooks, shared with permission

Full of extraordinary creatures, the illustrated series The Creative Specimens seamlessly combines species into unusual hybrids. Similar in color, each organism is bizarre in form. The feathered head of a bird is placed on a tortoise’s body, octopus tentacles sprout from the bottom of a cactus, and speckled coral comprises a deer’s antlers.

Adobe’s 99U Conference spurred the collaborative project as a way to offer a visual language encompassing various creative careers and passions. Inspired by the biological classifications of Charles Darwin and his contemporaries, New York-based art director and graphic designer Mark Brooks digitally rendered the organisms by referencing vintage illustrations. He then passed the project to Joanmiquel Bennasar, an illustrator living and working in the Balearic Islands, who recreated the creatures in watercolor.

Explore more of Brooks’s and Bennasar’s illustrated projects on Behance.