Interview: Chicago's Manual Cinema Reveals How Its Shadow Puppets Became a Defining Feature of the New 'Candyman'
Having already made box-office history, Nia DaCosta’s Candyman (2021) is deeply rooted in Chicago’s history as it not only critically considers racial violence and the city’s problems with gentrification but also draws in local artists, like the prolific and talented team behind the performance collective Manual Cinema. In a new interview supported by Colossal Members, editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson talks with co-artistic director Drew Dir about the studio’s role in the cult classic horror film, from the production process to using a traditionally lighthearted medium to convey such complex and traumatic stories:
By telling those stories through shadow puppetry, which is about as far from naturalism or realism as you can get, I think that gave (DaCosta) a way to represent that legacy of violence but also filter it through the critical lens of metaphor. The puppets allow the viewer to keep a critical distance (that’s something that puppets historically have been very good at!) and to consider the historical and social forces at play, so the viewer doesn’t lose themself in too much repulsion or fascination with blood and gore.
In the conversation, Dir discusses the unprecedented process of using shadow puppets as a major component of a blockbuster live-action film, experimenting with the technical limits of the medium, and what the studio is working on next.
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Japanese artist Taiichiro Yoshida (previously) continues his surveys into the possibilities of metalsmithing with a new series of elaborately layered sculptures. Spending between two and six months on each work, Yoshida meticulously molds copper, bronze, silver, and other materials by hand, creating countless metallic pieces with intricately impressed textures and edgings. Once wrapped around an armature of a dog, chick, or stuffed teddy bear, the fragile components ripple across the form, or as is the case with “The Dog in the Night Fog,” they appear as dozens of butterflies poised for flight. Explore a larger collection of Yoshida’s wrought sculptures on his site.
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Through a thick blanket of morning mist, Raf Maes documents the serene waves that surge along the coastline near Venice, Los Angeles. The moody, eerie images capture the powerful energy of the ocean as it ripples across the frame in a single, long line. “I love the juxtaposition between the roughness of the ever-changing sea and the calming effect it has on me. Somehow I manage to translate that calmness also in my images, while the subject is pretty wild,” he says.
Along with his photography practice, Maes is the co-founder of the accessory brand KOMONO and currently lives in Antwerp. You can find more of his landscape and dreamy interior shots, which he recently finished compiling for a forthcoming book, on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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At once adorable and unnervingly surreal, the fantastical creatures rendered by Naoto Hattori (previously) seamlessly meld the myriad textures and colors found in nature into unusual hybrids. They’re often fluffy, equipped with horns in surprising spots, and bear eyes so inordinately large and glassy that they reflect full-scale landscapes. Whether a furry sea horse-like character or a large bulbous head floating mid-air, the figures are musings on Hattori’s experiences. “When I (am) lucid dreaming, I imagine myself as a floating hybrid creature or something in harmony with nature,” he tells Colossal.
Primarily working in acrylic, the Japanese artist keeps his paintings small in scale, opting for miniature boards that generally don’t stretch more than six inches. He welcomes the technical challenge of such tiny spaces, although the size constraint originally developed when he was diagnosed with severe cervical spondylosis about 10 years ago. “When I tried to draw with my elbows and shoulders, my fingertips became numb and I couldn’t control the brush,” he says. “If it’s about the size of a notebook, I can draw without moving my neck or shoulders… So currently, I’m painting a smaller size that allows me to draw freely with the movements of my wrists and fingertips.”
Hattori, who lives in his hometown of Yokohama, Japan, will be part of The Blab Show opening at Santa Monica’s CoproGallery on September 11. You can glimpse his process on Instagram, and shop originals and prints on his site.
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Every month, Colossal shares a selection of opportunities for artists and designers, including open calls, grants, fellowships, and residencies. If you’d like to list an opportunity here, please get in touch at [email protected]. You can also join our monthly Opportunities Newsletter.
Lincoln Park Gallery Without Walls Mural Project
The Lincoln Park Gallery Without Walls Mural Project will award one muralist or artist collective from Newark or the greater Newark area a $5,000 stipend to complete a public work near the historic New Ark Cathedral Church and the Dryden Mansion.
Deadline: 11:59 a.m. GMT September 7, 2021.
Young Space’s Autumn 2021 Online Exhibition
Young Space is looking for submissions across mediums for its autumn 2021 show. Geared toward early and emerging artists, the call for work is open internationally and has a pay-what-you-can application fee starting at $5.
Deadline: September 12, 2021.
Open Call for Artist Banners at the Noguchi Museum
The Noguchi Museum is looking for designs from emerging Queens-based AAPI artists that advocate for anti-racism. They will be placed on the institution’s outdoor banners. One $1,000 award will be given to the winning artist, and two runners-up will each receive $500.
Deadline: September 24, 2021.
Toi Gallery’s Annual Art Contest
Toi Gallery’s Annual Art Contest is open to international artists at the beginning of their careers. The winner will receive a six-month to one-year contract with the gallery and 40% of net sales of their works.
Deadline: 12 a.m. on October 20, 2021.
Grants, Residencies, & Fellowships
Passa Ao Futuro’s Applied Arts from Nature Residency
Designed to preserve Portugal’s cultural heritage, the Applied Arts from Nature residency will task five designers and five artisans with working with traditional materials—cork, hammered copper, palm, terracotta pottery, and tiles—and techniques from the Algarve region to create new utilitarian pieces. It will take place in the Loulé Criativo space and in the artisans’ workshops in the Algarve.
Deadline: September 5, 2021.
Legler Regional Library Artist in Residence Program
During a two-year residency, one artist or artist team will be given an annual budget of $50,000 and studio space at Chicago’s Legler Regional Library to develop public art projects and art programs. It’s open to artists living or working in the city.
Deadline: September 12, 2021.
2022 Experimental Weaving Residency at Unstable Design Lab
The Unstable Design Lab will host its second experimental weaving residency from January 15 to May 15 in an effort to develop new techniques and open-source resources. Available to international applicants, the program will task one resident with will create a series of samples at the intersection of fiber arts and engineering.
Deadline: September 15, 2021.
Longform at Ox-Bow School of Art & Artists’ Residency
Designed for artists with at least five years of studio practice, Ox-Bow’s inaugural residency will bring together a cohort of 20 for a three-week-long program founded on experimental education. Longform will offer mentorship and studio space at the campus in Michigan.
Deadline: 9 a.m. EST on September 15, 2021.
Innovative Grant for Artists and Photographers
The Summer 2021 Innovative Grant will award $550 each to one photographer and one visual artist working across mediums. Applications are open internationally to anyone over 18 with a $25 fee.
Deadline: September 16, 2021.
Fort Union National Monument Residency
Applications for the October 2022 Fort Union National Monument residency are open. It’s located at one of New Mexico’s legendary and historic frontier army posts in Mora County and is accepting artists working across mediums.
Deadline: September 30, 2021.
Craft Research Fund’s Artist Fellowship
Craft Research Fund will award $20,000 to two mid-career artists, designers, or makers who identify their practice within the field of craft to support research projects. Applicants must have lived in the U.S. for the last two years.
Deadline: October 4, 2021.
Residencies for Architects, Artists, and Writers at Art Omi
Applications are open for Art Omi’s three residencies in architecture, art, and writing. Located in Columbia County, New York, each program brings together a group of creatives for cultural exchange, experimentation, and critical evaluation.
Deadline: October 15, 2021.
The Next Collective from Everlane
The clothing brand Everlane launched its first fellowship program dedicated to making the fashion industry more sustainable. Open to U.S. applicants, the Next Collective is looking for ideas to reduce virgin plastic use and will award up to five recipients a $20,000 grant and mentorship with the industry experts.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. PDT on October 18, 2021.
The Carmignac Photojournalism Award
The 12th edition of the Carmignac Photojournalism Award centers around the social, economic, and ecological crises impacting life in Venezuela. It will award one photographer from anywhere in the world a €50,000 grant to support a six-month reporting residency running from January to June 2022 with the Fondation Carmignac, along with a traveling exhibition of the works produced and a monograph.
Deadline: Midnight GMT on October 18, 2021.
Creative Residencies at Zūnya
Open across disciplines from visual and performing arts to environmental projects and literature, Zūnya currently has two listings open for one-week and nature immersion residencies at its Costa Rican space. The former is fully funded and centered on collaborative learning, while the latter runs at least one month with a focus on project development.
Emergency Grants from Foundation for Contemporary Arts
Emergency Grants is a multi-disciplinary program offering $500 to $3,000 grants to artists living and working anywhere in the United States for projects occurring in the U.S. and abroad. It’s designed to mitigate hardship when there is insufficient time to seek other sources of funding or when unexpected expenses occur.
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Artist Stéphanie Kilgast (previously) envisions a vibrant, post-apocalyptic world overgrown with coral, fungi, and lush moss. Using cheap devices and disposable containers that tend to outlast their original function as her base, Kilgast creates painted-clay assemblages that are teeming with fantastical colors and texture: mushrooms sprout from an empty paint tube, sea creatures envelop a crushed can, and plant life cloaks a pair of headphones with whimsical botanicals.
Each of the works contrasts the enduring manufactured object with natural growth, imagining a universe that’s simultaneously devoid of humanity and still marred by its rampant consumption habits. “In that sense my work is joyous. I remove the root of the problem, us, and let all the other species just grow over our mistakes,” she shares. “Nature itself is full of bright colors. It’s inherently beautiful, and my work is an ode to all the living and existing species, (except) for us. Hope dies last, so I still hope my work opens up discussion, thinking, and eventually change.”
Currently based in Vannes, France, Kilgast has exhibitions at Comoedia in Brest, France, Modern Eden in San Francisco, and three at Melbourne’s Beinart Gallery slated for 2022. She also shares much of her process on YouTube and Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Food
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.