Illustration

Write for Rights: An Illustrated Campaign for Amnesty International Aims to Free People Who Are Imprisoned

February 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Writing Carries Their Voice” (2020). All images © Amnesty International, shared with permission

A new campaign for Amnesty International exemplifies the power of the pencil in a moving series of illustrations by Bristol-based Owen Gent. Led by creative agency Cossette, the initiative was was designed for Write for Rights, an annual effort striving to free people around the world who are imprisoned unjustly. In the last two decades, it’s proven highly effective and boasted a 75 percent success rate after helping release 127 people.

Set on bold backdrops, Gent’s illustrations each utilize an oversized pencil that stands in for a spotlight, camera flash, boat’s wake, and sound booming from a megaphone, representing the issues facing this year’s targets—read more about Melike Balkan, Özgür Gür, the El Hiblu 3, Khaled Drareni, and Nassima al-Sada on Amnesty International’s site. The poignant renderings serve “as a reminder that even the smallest gesture can have a huge impact—it can change lives,” Cossette says.

Write for Rights is the world’s largest human rights event that generates millions of letters sent around the globe each year. You can find out more about this year’s efforts and how to join on the organization’s site.

 

“Writing Defends Freedom of the Press” (2020)

“Writing Frees the Innocent” (2020)

“Writing Saves Refugees” (2020)

 

 



Photography

A Stellar Panorama Frames the Milky Way and Other Celestial Bodies Through a Snowy Forest in Poland

February 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image © Łukasz Żak, shared with permission

On a cold night at the end of January, astrophotographer Łukasz Żak traveled about 150 kilometers from his home in Wołomin near Warsaw to a rural region in northeastern Poland. Near the village of Siemiony, he ventured into -12 degree cold to snap a remarkable set of images that feature a trio of celestial bodies peeking through snow-heavy spruces. After stitching the individual photographs together, he created this stereographic projection that frames the nebulae of the Milky Way, with one of the brightest stars, Capella, at the center and Orion to the upper right.

Żak shares that the composition was only apparent for an hour before the moon illuminated the sky and marred visibility. He describes the experience:

Being in such places, I already know why winter fairy tales and fairy tales were created…The road runs almost exactly from south to north. Such a trail destination majestically presents the Cosmic hunter in the southern skies, the Mythological Orion. Orion rises above the forest, showing its nebular treasures. A seasoned eye will notice the structures of the winter Milky Way and many other constellations.

You can follow a wide range of Żak’s celestial photographs and projections on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Design Music

OneClock: A Modern Take on the Analog Alarm Never Plays the Same Melody Twice

February 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © OneClock

Say goodbye to the days of being jarred awake by the alarm blaring from your iPhone. The creative team over at OneClock designed a streamlined device with the intention of rousing people in a more peaceful manner, one with soothing melodies that are in stark contrast to the startling sounds many of us hear every morning.

Minimal in aesthetic, the analog alarm is outfitted with more than 20 instrumental and vocal compositions created by musician Jon Natchez, a Grammy-award-winning artist who’s known for his work with The War on Drugs. Each of the sequences focuses on the tones, tempos, and frequencies most likely to wake even the groggiest sleeper. When it’s time to get up, the melodies gradually swell in volume. An AI music generator remixes a new composition each morning to stave off alarm fatigue, meaning that it never plays the same tune twice. OneClock also won’t allow snoozing, but it does emit music for about 20 minutes, giving drowsy folks a little extra time.

Although you’d probably be hard-pressed to find someone who agrees with OneClock that “sleep is great, but waking up is better,” the project is already is fully backed on Kickstarter with just more than two weeks to go. The retro, low-tech design, which features a built-in nightlight, currently is available in four colors and has a white oak front. Follow updates on its official launch on Instagram and its site. (via swissmiss)

 

 

 



Illustration

Otherworldly Ecosystems Populate Dense, Cross-Hatched Illustrations by Song Kang

February 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Evolution of Plants,” pen and ink, 30 x 20. All images © Song Kang, shared with permission

Packed with texture and depth, Song Kang’s ink-based drawings begin with “I wonder…I wonder how this will look compared to that, or I wonder if I can mix this and that,” she says. The Atlanta-based illustrator renders rich labyrinths populated by elements from land and sea that are depicted in an otherworldly manner: candy-colored liquid drips from a bonsai, fish and butterflies coexist in the same dense ecosystem, and a maze of M.C. Escher-style lizards sprawls across the page.

Each illustration is infused with ideas of evolution and the connection inherent in nature, themes that present themselves in both subject matter and Kang’s process. Often prompted by a loose idea, she starts with a sketch and works organically, drawing the intricate and minute details from one corner to the next. Her process is intuitive, which she explains:

In one moment, I feel like I’m building a distinct environment one crosshatched pebble at a time. The next moment, I’m clueless with only an impulse and a gut feeling to add something somewhere. One of these spontaneous decisions was choosing to add color. I was always using black ink, avoiding bright colors out of habit and uncertainty. But during quarantine, I found several colorful ink pens and became curious to see how it would look in my texture-heavy, fine-tuned crosshatched style.

Kang’s work is currently part of Wow x Wow’s Mindweave, a virtual group show that runs through February 26, and originals, prints, and smaller items are available in her shop. To see more of her meticulous process, watch this recent tutorial with Art Prof and head to Instagram.

 

“Butterfly Fish,” pen, ink, and acrylic paint, 17 x 17

Left: “Greenhouse,” pen, ink, acrylic paint, 10 x 17 inches. Right: “Fall Leaves,” pen, 9 x 13

“Bonsai Drip,” pen and markers, 9 x 6

“Henry’s Garden,” pen, ink, and acrylic paint, 23 x 23

“Escher’s Lizards,” pen, ink, and acrylic paint, 11 x 13

“Swamp Thing,” pen and ink, 8 x 11

“Venus Flytrap Squid,” pen and markers, 9 x 12

“Coral: Exploding Skulls,” pen, 9 x 12

 

 



Art Craft

A Trio of Monumental Macramé Installations Stretch 37 Feet Across a Seaside Structure in Bali

February 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Mountain,” 1150 x 766 centimeters. All images © Agnes Hansella, shared with permission

In just 12 days, Jakarta-based fiber artist Agnes Hansella fashioned a staggering trio of macramé installations that hang from a ceiling in Bali. Each of the knotted works spans more than 37 feet wide, cloaking the open-air structure in fringed fibers that evoke the coastal surroundings of Jimbaran.  Titled “Mountain,” “Ocean,” and “Sunset,” the wall hangings reflect the natural environment through asymmetric patches reminiscent of coral, waves, and birds.

Alongside a team of artists she hadn’t worked with previously, Hansella cut manila ropes with a hacksaw and balanced on scaffolding to assemble the massive works. All three began with rough sketches and evolved on-site. “I was never good with drawing pictures, so the finished design is mostly something I came up with on location. I change them a lot based on my instinct and situation. With macramé techniques, the ropes have their own will and character so as the artist I follow them and see what can and can not work,” she tells Colossal. The trio was commissioned by Flowerbloom Studio.

Currently, Hansella is working on a smaller work for a villa in Bahrain and plans to explore tufting and fiber sculpture in the coming months. She sells macramé supplies, wall hangings, and functional objects in her shop, and you can follow her latest projects on Instagram.

 

“Sunset,” 1150 x 500 centimeters

“Mountain,” 1150 x 766 centimeters

“Sunset,”  1150 x 500 centimeters

“Ocean,” 1150 x 650 centimeters

 

 



Art

Mixed-Media Portraits by Nelson Makamo Reflect Childhood Innocence and Wonder

February 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Nelson Makamo, shared with permission

Nelson Makamo (previously) is known for his oversized, lively portraits of the children and teens he meets around Johannesburg. Using a distinct blend of acrylic, watercolors, monotypes, silkscreen, and oil paint, the South African artist often delineates their silhouettes with a thick line of charcoal before adding colorful details to their clothing and faces. The resulting works are simultaneously earnest and imbued with a sense of wonder.

Whether posed or engaged in rowdy activities, many of the subjects sport bright, round glasses, emphasizing Makamo’s focus on viewing the world through the lens of childhood. His subjects “embody the peace and harmony we all strive for in life, the search for eternal joy lies in the child within us all. We are just so consumed with worldly things that we forget the simplicity of life through a child’s perspective,” he says in a statement.

Makamo recently closed a solo exhibition at Botho Project Space this January, and you can find more of his dynamic pieces on Artsy and Instagram.

 

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Artist Cat Enamel Pins