Art

Crystal Hearts and Translucent Tongues Shaped Into Sculptural Works by Debra Baxter

August 12, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

“Cross My Heart” (2019), Glass, Crystal Geode, 4.5″ x 5″ x 3″

Santa Fe-based sculptor and jewelry designer Debra Baxter combines glass, bronze, crystal, wood, and found objects to create ghostly sculptures of human forms. In one piece titled “Cross My Heart” (2019), a purple heart sits on top of a rough cluster of geodes, while in ‘First Taste” (2017), a glass tongue protrudes from a slab of quartz crystal.

For many of her recent works Baxter, shares with Roq Larue Gallery that she drew inspiration from the phenomenon of the “Ghost Heart.” In this medical procedure, a heart is cleansed of all of its blood cells and then injected with hundreds of millions of new blood steam cells which cause the heart to begin beating again. Baxter is interested in how this concept explores the complexity of existence, walking the line between life and death.  You can see more of her sculpted hearts and wearable artworks on her website and Instagram.

“Crystal Brass Knuckles (Aura Blow)” (2017), Aqua Aura Crystal and White Rhodium Plated Bronze, 7″ x 5″ x 2″

“Ghost Hand” (2019), Glass, Smoky Quarts, 13″ x 11″ x 12″

“First Taste” (2017), Glass and Quartz Crystal, 6″ x 8″ x 4″

“Silver Heart” (2019), Silver, Quartz, 3″ x 3.5″ x 5.75″

“I’m Your Venus” (2017), Cast Glass, Bronze, 5″ x 5.5″ x 2.5″

“Wind Knocked In” (2017), Amethyst, Bronze, Mopany Wood, 9.5″ x 15″ x 6.5″

“Heart of Gold” (2019), Bronze, Thunder Bay amethyst, 3″ x 3.5″ x 5.75″

 

 



Art

Intricate Beadwork Adorns Handmade Mardi Gras Suits by Demond Melancon

August 11, 2019

Andrew LaSane

For the past three decades, Louisiana-based artist Demond Melancon has created highly detailed Mardi Gras Indian suits using millions of hand-sewn small glass beads. Each suit takes several months to create and features custom patches that tell stories about African and American history.

Images of Nyabinghi warriors, Haile Selassie, African nature scenes, and slavery are strung together bead by bead to form decorative costumes that weigh up to 150 pounds and are worn from 9am to 6pm on Mardi Gras. Frills and feathers frame the complex beadwork and sequins to complete the one-of-a-kind single purpose suits.

Melancon tells Colossal that in junior high school his friends “masked Indian” and that he followed them into the craft. He was chosen by the elders to learn sewing techniques as well as the history of Black Masking Culture in New Orleans when he was 14 years old. After masking as a Spy Boy for 15 years with the Seminole Hunters, Melancon earned the distinction of becoming Big Chief to his own tribe. In addition to leading his community and passing on traditions to the next generation, the honor is expressed through the size and intricacy of his suits, which can take over 4,000 hours to complete and are only worn once.

“I study our history and historical narratives to create my pieces [with] many different references,” Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters explained. He added that as a “bead master,” his style involves using the smallest beads available to pack in as much detail as possible.

Melancon’s work has been exhibited in galleries around the world. A new documentary short about his life and art titled “All on a Mardi Gras Day” (dir. Michal Pietrzyk) was the Documentary: Grand Jury Prize Winner at Seattle International Film Festival and has been shown at other festivals across America, Germany, and Denmark. For a list of upcoming screenings and to see more of the Big Chief’s suits, visit his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art Photography

AfroArt Photo Series Challenges Beauty Standards with Young Black Models

August 10, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All Images: Kahran and Regis Bethencourt. Styling by LaChanda Gatson, Shanna Thomasson and Angela Plummer

Husband and wife photography duo Regis and Kahran Bethencourt of CreativeSoul Photography capture images of children that celebrate the beauty, culture, and heritage of afro hairstyles. Often dressed in ornate African-inspired garb, Black girl and boy models are crowned with afros, twists, and braids as symbols of strength and grace.

The Bethencourts, based in Atlanta, have been working together for 10 years and began photographing children with natural hair in 2013. The “AfroArt” series began when they noticed a lack of diversity in the industry. The way the children in the series are styled and posed against warm backgrounds recalls the regal oil portraits painted of upper class men and women during the Renaissance movement. “We decided to showcase kids with natural hair to empower them (and others in the industry) to embrace it and for the kids to be proud of their culture and natural curls,” the photographers tell Colossal.

“When we first started out we were primarily working with child models, but now more than half of the kids have never modeled before,” they added. “Many parents hire us so that their child can get the experience of feeling empowered for the day. We will typically guide them on set to make them feel comfortable. Most of them just see it as a fun experience, but they usually leave the studio feeling a little more proud and self-confident.”

CreativeSoul Photography has an online shop where images from the AfroArt series can be purchased as prints, calendars, and other products. They also recently signed a book deal, so keep an eye out for that at your local bookstore. In the meantime, follow CreativeSoul Photography on Instagram for more striking images and future updates.

 

 



Design

The World’s Largest Bicycle Garage Opens in Utrecht

August 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photos: Petra Appelhof

Colossal recently covered Utrecht’s efforts to green up their public transit with bee-friendly bus stops, and the Dutch city is at it again with the world’s largest bike garage. The multi-level structure, recently completed, is totally underground, allowing the public square above to be a pedestrian-first space. Designed by Ector Hoogstad Architects in collaboration with the Sant & Co firm and Royal Haskoning DHV, the garage accommodate 13,500 bicycles. This quantity unseats Tokyo as home to the world’s largest bike garage. To learn more about the specifics and logistical considerations of the design, visit the architect’s website. (via designboom)

 

 



Photography

Bolivia’s Powerful Cholitas Luchadora Wrestlers Photographed by Todd Antony

August 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Todd Antony, shared with permission

Photographer Todd Antony (previously) documents Bolivia’s best-dressed wrestlers in a new series, Flying Cholitas. The women, who are indigenous Aymara, compete in their sport wearing voluminous petticoats, colorful skirts, and long-sleeved lacy tops rather than in the minimal, form-fitting spandex worn by many athletes around the world.

These ensembles resemble ones that Aymara were expected—sometimes even required—to wear during five centuries of oppression under Spanish occupiers. The wrestlers wear these ensembles to show pride in their history and take back their visibility. Similarly, the identifier “cholita,” originally a derogatory term, has been reclaimed in recent years by indigenous Bolivians as a point of pride.

If you’re curious to see the athletes in action, Luisa Dörr and Michael James Johnson were commissioned by Apple to shoot a short documentary on the flying cholitas, which you can watch below. Aymara architect Freddy Mamani has also championed indigenous Bolivian aesthetics with his buildings, which we’ve covered previously on Colossal.

Explore more of Antony’s wide-ranging photography on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Craft Food

Crocheted Hams and Hairdryers by Trevor Smith Evoke Memories of Mid-Century Domesticity

August 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

By day, Trevor Smith is a local council worker in Victoria, Australia. After hours, Smith creates replicas of elaborate meals and household appliances in crocheted wool. Cheese platters, baked hams, toasters, and hair dryers are carefully constructed using foam armatures underneath the woolen exteriors. Smith has had a lifelong interest in crafts, and shared with The Design Files, “my mother was a talented craftswoman and I was always shadowing her, wanting to be doing what she was doing.” Smith earned a degree in Visual Arts as a sculpture major and also has been a curator of public art collections for the last 30 years. His crocheted artwork is available through Michael Reid gallery, and Smith shares updates on Facebook. If you enjoy the artist’s work, also check out Lucy Sparrow and Kate Jenkins for more fiber interpretations of food. (via The Design Files)

 

 

 

 

 

 



Animation

Squirming Multi-Colored Bodies Dance Across the Screen in an Unsettling Animation by Mike Pelletier

August 8, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Flurry” is a bizarre new animated short from the experimental artist Mike Pelletier. The two minute-long video features no obvious narrative. Rather, the animation is an exploration of movement and volume: an indeterminate number of humanoid figures seem to merge and divide as their flaccid limbs wiggle and squirm. Pelletier is Canadian and now based in Amsterdam. In a statement, the artist shares that “his work explores the various ways in which the human body is represented in art and the social milieu”. Watch more of Pelletier’s experiments on Vimeo (especially this deflated fruit animation) on Vimeo. Digital editions of the artist’s work are available in his online store.