Design

Using Tracing Paper and Rice Water, Designer Pao Hui Kao Creates a Sturdy Furniture Collection

March 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Pao Hui Kao

When Eindhoven-based designer Pao Hui Kao realized she was allergic to some of the pigments and coatings used in household furnishings, she decided to construct her own minimalist collection. The result is a line of tables, seats, shelves, and a light fixture made almost entirely of tracing-paper tubes soaked in rice water.

To ensure the sturdiness of her mostly-white designs, Hui Kao varies the size of her paper rolls. As they dry, the rice water binds each wrinkled piece together. In a statement about the wrinkle-filled project, the designer noted that she hoped to reconsider paper’s functionality and explore its potential. “Water is usually not welcome in the world of paper. I realized, however, that when water is absorbed by paper, it brings power to the inner structure,” she said.

Hui Kao also told Dezeen that part of her interest in the project was to find materials that wouldn’t create more waste once they were out of use. “By having a better understanding of how recycling systems work in real life, I tend to investigate a new way of creating objects, and study the relationship between objects, bodies, and recycling systems,” she said.

Head to Instagram for more of the Hui Kao’s sustainable designs.

“Strength from paper,” paper and rice glue, 45 x 40 x 45 and 55 x 50 x 65 centimeters

“Let’s get wrinkle!” paper and rice glue, 400 x 200 x 45 centimeters

“There is a cloud!” paper and rice glue, 550 x 550 x 45 centimeters

“I don’t think it is a lotus!” paper, rice glue, and resin, 60 x 50 x 55 centimeters

“A slice of cave,” paper, rice glue, and wood, 110 x 110 x 50 centimeters

“Roma,” paper, rice glue, and resin, 110 x 45 x 70 centimeters

 

 



Craft Photography

Derrick Lin’s Dioramas Contrast the Bustle of Agency Life with Peaceful Office-Supply Scenes

March 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Derrick Lin, shared with permission

Seattle-based photographer Derrick Lin (previously) constructs miniature worlds that serve as a direct contrast to the stacks of books and other office staples like paperclips and pencils they’re surrounded by. Often showing life’s more relaxing and sublime moments, each scene is complete with tiny figures and their possessions as they pass along a sidewalk lined with cherry blossom trees, occupy a packed airport terminal, and sit on the floor of a messy living room. Because Lin assembles his little scenarios on his tabletop, some of his shots even feature a coffee mug in the background.

The photographer tells Colossal that in recent years, he’s started to consider the more subtle emotions of his daily reality “as a single working professional living in a major city.”

In addition to humor and whimsy, I started to pay more attention to topics around loneliness, mental health, and kindness. I strive to depict and spotlight on the kind of thoughts we typically reserve for ourselves. My photography loosely reflects what I personally experience and what I see around me. What continues to amaze me is the messages I receive from my followers about how my little project resonates with them and brings them joy and calmness.

To keep up with Lin’s office supply-based dioramas, follow him on Instagram, and check out the prints he has available on Society6.

 

 



Art History

Human Figures Removed from Classic Paintings by Artist José Manuel Ballester

March 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” (1498)

Despite being a couple of years old, José Manuel Ballester’s artworks feel eerily familiar in the time of COVID-19. The Spanish artist recreates classic paintings like Goya’s “The Third of May 1808,” Vermeer’s “The Allegory of Painting,” and Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” except he leaves out one central aspect: humans. Some of Ballester’s digital versions retain remnants of the former subjects, showing blood-covered ground marking the spot of a gruesome battle or even a faint outline of the sitter in an unfinished portrait. Other works, however, seem to exist simply on their own, offering a view of an empty gallery or a wreckage on rough waters.

In an interview with Bored Panda, Ballester said that while his Concealed Spaces series often is regarded as humorous, it has multiple meanings. “After a deeper look it’s not difficult to find transcendence and the multiple possible interpretations, both as new images and as related to their original counterparts,” he said.

One of the clearest aspects in this series is the way we can understand art from the point of view of each period, which has a unique way of looking and understanding reality shared by artists, who develop their creativity inside those period’s values and connect with ideas and universal precepts extended in time.

For more of Ballester’s digital creations that reconsider historical projects, check out his site. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

Diego Velázquez’s “Las Meninas” (1656)

Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” (c.1486)

Jan Vermeer’s “The Allegory of Painting” (1668)

Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” (1937)

Francisco Goya’s “The Third of May 1808” (1814)

Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of Medusa” (1819)

 

 



Animation Documentary

Bloomers: An Animated Documentary Recounts the History Behind an Undergarment Business

March 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Consumers are paying closer attention to the ethics and business practices behind the products they buy, and animated documentarian Samantha Moore is shining a light on one company creating everyday essentials. Last year, the Shropshire-based creator released “Bloomers,” a short film that chronicles the history of the Manchester-based lingerie company Ella and Me, which began production in the United Kingdom before moving abroad and back again.

From flowing silk to lace-trimmed underwear strung up only to be snipped apart, the detailed project colors mostly the garments, swaths of fabric, and spindles of string. The workers and machines remain black-and-white line drawings throughout the film as it walks through the manufacturing cycle from design to consumer purchases.

Moore helps illuminate the impacts rising production costs had on Ella and Me since its beginning as a mom-and-pop business. She documents its inception and even the employees’s familial connections to the textile industry. The animation is set to a diverse soundtrack that includes interviews with the company’s team, in addition to noises commonly found on the production room floor, like scissors slicing through soft cotton and the repetitive tick of sewing machines.

Since its release, “Bloomers” was nominated for the Best Short Film at the British Animation Awards 2020, was the winner of the Best British Film at London International Animation Festival 2019, and took home the top prize as the Best Documentary at ReAnima International Film Festival 2019. Keep up with Moore’s animated documentaries on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 



Art Colossal

Interview: Tiffanie Turner Discusses Her Evolving Understanding of Beauty and How the Climate Crisis Impacts Her Realistic Florals

March 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Photo by Shaun Roberts, courtesy of Eleanor Harwood Gallery

San Francisco-based artist Tiffanie Turner is known for creating large-scale paper flowers that embody themes of beauty and aging. In the latest interview for Colossal Members, Turner spoke with our managing editor, Grace Ebert, about her relationship to botany, how she manages her time, and the role teaching plays in her work.

 

 



Art Food Illustration

Japanese Chef Has Filled Notebooks with Delectable Illustrations of All of His Meals for 32 Years

March 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images ©  Kushino Terrace, shared with permission

Some meals leave an impression—you might remember the cherry pie your grandma always made or a multi-course dinner consisting of toast and caviar, a mound of shaved truffle topping pasta, and wagyu tartare. Rather than solely rely on his memory to envision the fare he’s enjoyed, though, Japanese chef Itsuo Kobayashi has been painting and describing in detail the dishes he’s eaten for the past 32 years in a series of notebooks and standalone works.

While an interesting look at Kobayashi’s nourishment, the detailed projects are also a growing collection of outsider art. N. Kushino, who runs Kushino Terrace gallery in Fukuyama, Japan, and represents Kobayashi, tells Colossal that the artist begins by writing detailed passages of what he eats before going back to create his appetizing illustrations.

What stands out is that all of these drawings feature an overhead perspective so that all of the ingredients of the food Kobayashi depicts can be seen. Furthermore, in the blank spaces in his compositions, the artist writes the names and prices of, and his opinions about the food and the ingredients he portrays. He adds positive descriptive words about his subjects, such as “delicious,” so that he may provoke good memories when he later looks at the drawings.

For many years, Kobayashi cooked at a soba restaurant and provided meals for schools until he was diagnosed with alcoholic neuritis, a debilitating condition that reduced his mobility. Now, the artist mostly works from home, ordering take-out often and continuing to detail his meals at length. Since he started the creative project at age 18, Kobayashi has produced more than 1,000 illustrations. “For him, painting and living have the same meaning. The disease (makes it) more and more difficult to walk, but he does not stop painting,” Kushino says. Most recently, Kobayashi has begun shaping pop-ups in his works featuring bowls of tempura seafood and piles of noodles.

Shared at the Outsider Art Fair in New York earlier this year, Kobayashi’s pieces sold for up to $3,000. To see a project in the same vein, check out James Deeds Jr.’s Ectlectric Pencil. (via ArtNet)

 

 



Art Craft

Extravagant Masks by threadstories Offer Cultural Commentary on Selfhood and Social Media

March 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © threadstories, shared with permission

Covered in full-face masks of fringe and knotted details, threadstories (previously) explores the tension between contemporary portrayals of public and private life. The Irish artist poses in front of gray backdrops for her self-portraits that obscure her face and only sometimes reveal a set of eyes or a mouth through the crocheted exterior.

threadstories tells Colossal that the process for creating each piece is similar. She begins by crocheting the balaclava—sometimes adding space for further detail like pointed ears or a hand-drawn face—before crafting various tufts and dense patches. “The yarns I use when tufting will create an endless array of outcomes from the same technique,” she writes. “The choice of yarn can mean the difference between a mask with a lot of movement or a mask with a strong form that can be brushed and manipulated to hold numerous forms.”

Once she’s photographed the finished project, threadstories deconstructs the pieces to transform them into a new extravagant work. “Generally speaking, I am working intuitively, no design or drawings in advance. I am thinking with my hands,” she says. “For me, it is the photograph or mask on film that is the artwork, not the physical mask. I don’t create pieces like a designer might. The masks are always in a state of flux.”

Each fiber-based creations serves as a visual representation of how people obscure their lives, both intentionally and not, for public consumption. “The masks are sometimes monstrous, other times farcical façades that poke at the performative nature social media cultivates and celebrates,” she writes. Each caption helps build a narrative.

threadstories is questioning how the erosion of personal privacy in the digital age shapes how we view and portray ourselves online. The masks deny the viewer the full story of who the sitter is, echoing the curated or false personas we view online daily. My masks are photographed against a sanitised white square. I know there is often chaos, mess and noise just beyond the margins of that photograph, but the messiness of life doesn’t make the edit for social media.

Find more of the artist’s work that intersects art and cultural commentary on Instagram.

 

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