Artist Louise Jones (previously), known professionally as Ouizi, focuses on flowers in her multi-faceted practice. Whether creating towering outdoor murals, carving linoleum prints, completing indoor mural commissions, or painting on more traditional canvases, Jones creates groupings of real and imagined blossoms. In addition to painting in her home base of Detroit, where she has completed over 40 murals, Jones travels widely to execute work, including in Los Angeles (her hometown), Shanghai, New Zealand, and New York.
The artist’s largest mural to date, titled Wildflowers for Buffalo, was recently completed in Buffalo, New York as part of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Public Art Initiative. The enormous work is the largest mural in Western New York. For this commission and other site-specific projects, Jones researched and incorporated native flora in her designs. She works in a distinctive aesthetic that merges botanical realism with a stylized, sinuous technique that draws from her Chinese heritage.
In an interview with Shinola, Jones explained, “Flowers are a vehicle for me to explore color and shapes. They remind me so much of my own body — they’re very feminine. I consider myself to be feminine, but haven’t always felt that way. As I get older, I’ve learned to embrace my femininity, and I find myself increasingly drawn to flowers with age.”
Jones studied drawing and printmaking at UC Santa Cruz. You can see more of her work on Instagram, and watch a behind-the-scenes video and interview of Jones’ Buffalo mural below.
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The French creative company La Machine recently premiered their latest creation, a nearly 50-foot-tall robotic Minotaur, in Toulouse, France. The beast marched through the labyrinthine streets of the city’s old town accompanied by a 42-foot spider for the group’s latest production The Guardian of the Temple. The pair of machines performed an operatic interpretation of the myth of Ariadne, a Cretan princess who helped Theseus overcome the Minotaur, to live music. These impressive kinetic sculptures are La Machine’s latest project from their oeuvre of mechanical bestiary which has operating worldwide since 1999.
Bringing together artists, technicians, and show decorators, this unique group of enthusiasts and experts construct atypical show objects, and movement is the key factor for their awe-inspiring performances and creations. La Machine’s animal-like works turn the cities into dream worlds. “We always work on movement,” La Machine’s head of marketing, Frédette Lampre tells Colossal. “It’s our artistic line and we always use the fine material such as wood, leather, copper, or glass, and never use plastics.”
The mechanical spider was constructed over the course of two years by a team of around 60 people. The mythical Minotaur machine is half electric and half combustion, and moves around the city with the help of 17 operators. Although this technical beast weighs over 10,000 pounds, it still has the capacity to move smoothly and realistically between the city’s large buildings and blast steam out of its large nostrils.
The performance was organized as an introduction of the newly repurposed Toulouse Aerospace district. After presenting their creations and projects throughout Germany, Belgium, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Japan, China, and Canada, their upcoming shows are scheduled for Nantes and Calais in France. You can see a portion of the Toulouse-based performance in the video below and view past productions on La Machine’s website, Instagram, and Youtube. (via Dioniso Punk)
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Photographer Camille Seaman travels the world capturing fleeting moments of power in diverse landscapes. From melting icebergs at both poles to stormy states across America, Seaman showcases the beauty, terror, and fragility of nature in her digital and film images. Seaman began storm-chasing after her daughter, eight years old at the time, suggested it might be of interest while the two were watching the Storm Chasers TV show. Her newest book,The Big Cloud, focuses on supercell storms around the U.S. It includes a forward by New Yorker science writer Alan Burdick, and includes behind-the-scenes shots and written reflections from Seaman about the experience of being a storm chaser.
“Sometimes as we pulled into a local fuel station, we would be met with superstitious folks who were not glad to see us; some of those people had lost their homes or loved ones in storms,” Seaman writes in the preface. “It was important to remember that these people lived here year after year, never knowing if this would be the day when a tornado might come through their town. It taught me great empathy and compassion. It was important that our chasing storms not become some sort of disaster tourism… I always wanted my images to speak to the duality of all things—to speak to the essential truth that there can be beauty in something terrible and vice versa, that there is no creation without destruction.”
In addition to authoring three books, Seaman is also a TED Senior Fellow, and has published works in National Geographic, The New York Times, and Outside Magazine. You can find The Big Cloud, published by Princeton Architectural Press, on Amazon. Follow the photographer’s travels on Instagram and Twitter.
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Popular Cartoons and Mascots Unwind to Reveal Realistic Depictions of Their Human and Animal Inspirations
Dutch artist Stefan Thelen, a.k.a. Super A (previously here and here) removes the fantasy from classic pop culture characters like Batman and Mickey Mouse to reveal more realistic interpretations of their cartoon constructs. An owl peers out between the gaps of its cartoon self in a painting of a scene from Sleeping Beauty, while a white cat with piercing orange eyes pokes its paw out of a spiraled depiction of Hello Kitty.
The new works, which are part of Thelen’s ongoing series titled Trapped, are currently on view at the Brand Library & Arts Center for his solo exhibition Domestication curated by Thinkspace Projects. You can see more of his mash-ups of pop culture figures and their human and animal inspirations on his website and Instagram. (via Arrested Motion)
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Interdisciplinary artist Suzanne Jongmans uses her skills as a sculptor and costume designer to create recycled garments from packing materials such as Styrofoam, plastic sheets, and segments of thick bubble wrap. The costumes take the form of elaborate bonnets and high collared dresses which are then photographed on subjects in poses reminiscent of portrait styles from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Specifically the Dutch artist references paintings created by artists such as Rembrandt, Holbein the Younger, and Rogier van der Weyden in her styled photographs.
Jongmans draws connections between contemporary disposable materials and the aesthetics of fine silks or lace, presenting creative takes on centuries-old clothing. “The idea of making something out of nothing changes our look on reality,” she explains. “…Most people throw that [foam] away. I make clothing out of it; foam is my textile.” You can see more of her portraits and garments sculpted from recycled materials on her website and Facebook.
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The sprawling team behind the equally sprawling megalopolis of art called Meow Wolf (previously) have banded together to create a feature-length documentary explaining how its “House of Eternal Return” came to be. The 88-minute film, titled Origin Story, was directed by Morgan Capps and Jilann Spitzmiller and written by Capps and Spitzmiller along with Christina Procter. It follows the seven founding members along with hundreds of volunteers through the decade-long journey of exploring, creating, and building Meow Wolf. The film includes footage from the nascent days of Meow Wolf’s artists working together, and also dives into the future plans of the group.
Built out of an old bowling alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico with the support of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, Meow Wolf opened to the public in 2016 filled with works by 150 artists spread out over 20,000 square feet. The immersive art experience has quickly become a cultural touchpoint, as it’s welcomed over one million visitors in the last three years, and is in the process of expanding to two new locations, in Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Meow Wolf’s original location has expanded as well, with several new rooms and sequences added in 2018. Cakeland, by Scott Hove (previously) explores notions of heaven and hell, and lightness and darkness, in his two-part installation which engages his signature “cake” creations. (You can watch a 5 minute video that takes you behind the scenes and inside Hove’s head here.)
Justin Di Ianni also built a new portal called Timeworm. “The space is a representation of our idea of the fifth dimension,” Meow Wolf shared. “For those out of the know, the fifth dimension is one in which all time and space occur in the same instant. This means that there is no visible movement, rather all movement appears as a singular line through space. Imagine all of your life’s journeys being viewed as a single line on a global map; that’s dimension five.”
The film will be released on November 29, 2018 at 600 theaters around the country. You can take a look here to see if it’s playing nearby, and follow along with Meow Wolf’s adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
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Malaga-based artist Julio Anaya Cabanding paints well-known masterpieces in unsuspecting public places to create captivating trompe l’oeil interventions. The classic scenes and their ornate frames are hand-painted on unlikely backdrops such as graffiti-filled walls, crumbling buildings, and slabs of stones by the sea. These decrepit locations are chosen on purpose, as Anaya Cabanding seeks a distinct contrast to the pristine halls of traditional art museums. “These places are inhospitable, decadent, and inappropriate to receive such a valuable object,” he explains to Colossal. “Opposite of what a museum is.”
Anaya Cabanding symbolically “steals” the works of art, presenting them in locations that are abandoned, peripheral, or difficult to access. To create each work he first outlines his replica in spray paint, and then meticulously fills in the details in acrylic paint. The practice evolved from his art education at the University of Fine Arts in Malaga where he developed an interest in site-specific works and traditional trompe l’oeil. It was at the encouragement of his graffiti-writing friend Imon Boy that he first moved his work from the studio to the street. “I really liked the result and the relationship between the trompe l’oeil painting and the environment, so I decided to continue doing that,” he recounts of his initial experience.
His interventions are so meticulously rendered that people often think they are Photoshopped, or mistake them for the original paintings. “A year ago I painted two paintings by Lucian Freud… in an exhibition with colleagues from the university,” he says. “When talking to one of their mothers one week later, a colleague realized she still thought she had seen two real paintings.” Recently Anaya Cabanding participated in the Jornadas Z de Montalbán contemporary art project organized by Rafael Jiménez and Demetrio Salces, in Córdoba, Spain. You can follow the Spanish artist’s uncanny interventions on Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Drawing
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.