Design Science

Tiny Organisms Escape Life Under a Microscope in Oversized Puppets by Judith Hope

January 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

A bacteriophage puppet. All images © Judith Hope

The familiar faces of friendly puppets like Kermit and Elmo are missing from Judith Hope’s enlarged microbe creations that magnify the world’s tiniest organisms. A brown bacteriophage, commonly known as a virus, features six moveable legs powered by a hand-operated device, while a pink tardigrade stands upright and sways side-to-side. Sometimes referred to as a “water bear,” the tardigrade imitates a resilient animal who can survive in extreme conditions and is usually only .02 inches long when fully grown. The models originally were created for the Tatwood Puppets production of Microbodyssey, a visual experience utilizing puppetry and shadow theater to explore life under the microscope. You can watch a trailer for the microbe-based show on Vimeo, and see more of Hope’s handheld crafts on Instagram.

Tardigrade and bacteriophage puppets

A bacteria puppet with removable DNA

Common cold puppet

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Design

Teeth-Baring Dracula Reveals Himself on Sinister Billboard Only When the Sun Sets

January 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

In a newly released advertisement for BBC One’s remaking of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the iconic vampire stays true to his vile nature and appears only at nightfall. During the day, the sinister promotion depicts blood dripping from stakes driven into the billboard, an allusion to theories about killing vampires. When the sun sets, a haunting shadow appears resembling Dracula with his mouth open and teeth bared, seemingly ready to prey on his next victim. To add to the darkly themed advertisement, creators have included a glass case complete with daggers below the billboard that reads, “in case of vampires, break glass.”

Dracula was created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, who also worked on the classics Sherlock and Doctor Who. Chris Hooper, who is in charge of marketing at BBC One, noted in an interview with The Drum, that the advertising campaign wanted to revitalize the portrayal of the classic character. “Each element has been designed to surprise⁠—from the cheeky campaign line, ‘Bloody Legend’, to the use of Lust For Life on the trailers, and this special build, which takes a playful, tongue-in-cheek approach to the legend,” he said. If you’re in either Birmingham and London where the billboards are located, you might even encounter the creepy vampire in person. This play on shadows is also in a similar vein as artists Kumi Yamashita and Tim Noble and Sue Webster. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Craft

Countless Hand-Scored Notches Comprise Aquatic Sculptures by Lisa Stevens

January 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Lisa Stevens, shared with permission

From her home studio near Bristol, Lisa Stevens designs heavily detailed sculptures that mimic sea life and natural elements. Her small bowls are complete with ridges and plant-like protrusions, while her organ-shaped sculptures are teeming with seemingly endless dots and scores that imitate coral reefs, flowers, minerals, moss, and lichen. Formerly a sculptor for Aardman Animations, Stevens forgoes stamps, texture sheets, or molds to craft each mark with a small set of tools, ensuring no pieces are identical. Most of her works are made of high-fired porcelain clay that becomes translucent when light shines through it. The sculptor often uses stoneware glazes, underglaze, or melted glass to finish her pieces with vibrant pigments.

Stevens said in an artist’s statement that she intends “to highlight the issues that human activity has on the environment. Small differences in each of our behaviours can add up to make a big difference.” More of Steven’s geologically inspired sculptures can be found on Instagram, and some are even available for purchase on Etsy.

 

 



Design

Giant Seesaws Transform New York City’s Garment District into Light-Filled Urban Playground

January 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Alexandre Ayer/Diversity Pictures LLC, shared with permission

New York City’s Garment District recently received a dose of cold-weather fun with Impluse, an interactive installation of 12 oversize seesaws that glow and emit sound when someone hops on one end. Originally shown at the Place Des Festivals in Montreal in 2016 before traveling to cities like Chicago, Boston, Scottsdale, the installation allows users to produce their own light and sound shows that transform the city’s dreary January streets. The seesaws range from 16 to 24 feet and contain LED lights that vary in intensity and speakers that play random musical sequences.

Designed by Lateral Office and CS Design, Impulse encourages people to come together in a “public space all year round, both summer and winter months, by engaging ideas of urban play,” the creators said in a statement. “Inspired by the iconic cover of the Joy Division album ‘Unknown Pleasures,’ as well as Steve Reich’s serial, minimal music, which plays with repetition, rhythm and syncopation, Impulse project explores how architecture can visualize sound.” You can be part of the communal display by visiting the installation, which is on Broadway until January 31, or if you’re not in the city, by checking out the Garment District on Instagram.

 

 



Art Illustration

Stamps, Scientific Charts, and Hand-Drawn Maps Occupy Every Inch of Travel Notebooks by José Naranja

January 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © José Naranja, shared with permission

Author and artist José Naranja ensures he won’t forget any detail of his year-round travels across the globe through a meticulous and unique documentation process. Formerly an aeronautic engineer, Naranja now archives his thoughts while visiting foreign countries by hand-crafting journals replete with items like collected stamps, an illustration of the periodic table, and a study of fountain pens. Each mixed-media page centers on a theme, such as the culture surrounding eating a bowl of ramen or the flamingos found in a zoo.

Since he last spoke with Colossal, the artist published a second work titled The Nautilus Manuscript, a 208-page handbound leather journal chronicling his life from 2015 to 2019. Similar to how he constructs each page, Naranja is committed to maintaining the integrity of his work during the production process. “The project is about offering the people the same feeling as having the originals in their hands: same paper, size, leather cover and mainly the same ‘touch.’ It’s bound by hand, slow but the only way to take care of details,” he says. The Nautilus Project, which is written mostly in Spanish, is available for purchase. Keep up with the artist’s most recent spreads brimming with insights and elaborate sketches on Instagram.

 

 



Join Pratt Institute School of Continuing and Professional Studies for a Floral Art for Interiors Certificate

January 6, 2020

Colossal

This spring, join Pratt Institute School of Continuing and Professional Studies for a one-of-a-kind, fine art-inspired floral design program led by master florists. Courses can be taken individually or take all three to earn a Floral Art for Interiors certificate.

Small is Beautiful: Big Designs for Small Spaces

Explore the fundamentals of composition, proportion, and scale to create large-scale floral designs that suit any space.

Modern Interiors: Apartments with a View

Called “Fashion’s favorite florist” Oscar Mora brings an in-depth knowledge of interior design to his floristry for home décor. With a degree in Interior Design from the Academy of Las Mercedes, Caracas, Venezuela, Oscar began his career designing for photo shoots, fashion boutiques, and private parties. Since then, his floral creations have graced the pages of top editorial magazines and runways of NY Fashion Week. Guided by Oscar learn to analyze and create the optimal designs for every type of setting.

Haute Bohemians

Bella Meyer holds a PhD in art history from the Sorbonne and has a long and illustrious career in the arts crowned by decades as a floral designer. A deeply culturally informed person she draws connections and inspiration from fine art, dance, literature and classical music in her floral practice. Reach new heights guided by Bella designing avant-garde floral designs that reflect an interdisciplinary approach.

For more information and to register visit Pratt Institute School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

 

 



Art

22 Artists Consider the Connection Between Self-Portraits and Identity in ME

January 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

“A bigger splash of plastic” by Cesar Piette. All images shared with permission

ME: An Exhibition of Contemporary Self-Portraiture” asks 22 contemporary artists to explore who they are and how they present themselves. Curated by Sugarlift and Juxtapoz contributing editor and Colossal contributor Sasha Bogojev, the exhibition presents each artists’ understanding of themselves and of the history of self-portraiture. Cesar Piette’s abstract blue face resembles dripping paint partially masked by glasses, while Prudence Flint portrays a woman napping on a pink bed next to a guitar. Many of the artists created their first self-portraits in years, if not ever, specifically for the show, which includes work from Aleah Chapin, Cesar Piette, and Christian Rex van Minnen, among others.

In a conversation with Colossal, Bogojov answered a few questions about contemporary culture and self-awareness, how they influence self-portraiture, and the ways current conceptions of identity show up in ME.

Colossal: How have perceptions of the self changed since the creation of such a selfie-obsessed culture?

Bogojev: Oh, that is a tough one and I’m certain there are papers if not books written on that subject. But I do feel that a selfie-obsessed culture created more self-awareness on different levels. For this show, in particular, I feel like lots of artists wanted to fight against the popular idea of “self” or what we know now as selfie, by presenting themselves imperfect, flawed, caricatured, even grotesque in some cases.

Colossal: Could you talk a little more about the intersections between psyche, mirror, and others that you see in contemporary self-portraiture?

Bogojev: Modern-day takes are rarely realistic renderings of one’s mirror image and are often including elements that suggest qualities beyond that. Whether playing with light, formatting, color scheme, or simply going away from realism completely, they often focus on the author’s character, emotions, and such. I like to believe that this show encompasses that really well with the variety of approaches and visual languages presented.

Colossal: So many conversations about identity center ideas of multiplicity, of people not having a singular self. How do you see that relating to the face and to self-portraits?

Bogojev: Exactly! I think this is what most artists nowadays are fully aware of and that is why they struggle to find the “right way” to create self-portraits or they create multiple versions of it. Again, I feel it’s the superficiality of selfie-culture that made them extra wary of how they present themselves without jeopardizing their integrity and practice. With their artwork being the most direct and honest way of communicating with the world, it is not easy for an artist to pick one image, or even concept, as a single representation of oneself. I think this is why the artists in ME built their self-portraits by layering different visuals (Van Minnen), assembling a variety of elements (Shiqing), creating an atmosphere they connect to (Flint, Toscani, Chapin), captured an intimate moment that describes them best (Erheriene-Essi, O’Brien).

ME is on view from January 16 to 30 at High Line Nine in New York. If you’re in the city on January 21, stop by for “The Self-Portrait: Antiquity to #Selfie,” a talk by art and culture critic and author Carlo McCormick, historian and Sotheby’s VP of Old Masters Painting Calvine Harvey, and contemporary painter Jenny Morgan.

“Big Dumb Face” by Christian Rex van Minnen

“The Wish” by Prudence Flint

“The Observer” by Tony Toscani

“The Eagle Has Landed” by Esiri Erheriene-Essi

“Life Mask for the Doppleganger” by Jenny Morgan

“Cadmium Flesh Deep” by Paco Pomet

“Learning to be still” by Aleah Chapin, courtesy of the artist and Flowers Gallery, London/New York