Art

Dense Ecosystems with Flowing Water Sources Packed in Vintage Luggage by Kathleen Vance

February 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Traveling Landscape, Grey Samsonite,” vintage train case, resin, artificial foliage, soil, water, water pump, and fluorescent light, 13 x 9 x 9 inches. All images © Kathleen Vance, shared with permission

New York City-based artist Kathleen Vance creates lush landscapes brimming with green mosses, foliage, and rocky surfaces all stored in an unusual carrier: vintage suitcases. Vance’s ongoing Traveling Landscapes series connects travel and natural resources, inclining her to incorporate active water components into many of her miniature ecosystems. The artist tells Colossal she hopes to convey that “water and our natural open landscapes are our legacy to the future generations and something that must be protected and cherished.”  Her more recent pieces, like “Traveling Landscape, Spelunker,” deviate from her previous work by including caverns replete with hanging stalactites and stalagmites, or icicle-like rock formations, that she sculpts by hand.

Utilizing found vessels, Vance says she wants to “relate to a time when travel was slower and the distances between us and our homelands and foreign landscapes were more difficult to access.” Each portable environment is designed and retrofit for specific steamer trunks and train cases.

The cases act to abstract the idea of travel and romanticize its idyllic qualities. I am always on the look out for cases that have some indication of travel, with notes and markers which give a feeling that they have really been used for used for transportation of someone’s special or personal items.

To keep up with Vance’s environmentally focused projects, follow her on Instagram.

“Traveling Landscape, Luce,” vintage train case, resin, artificial foliage, soil, water, water pump, and fluorescent light, 11 x 6.5 x 8 inches

“Traveling Landscape, Ornate Silver,” ornate metal and wooden chest, soil, stones, resin, artificial, foliage, and water, 12 x 12 x 17 inches

“Traveling Landscape, Golden Interior,” 12.5 x 5 x 8 inches

“Traveling Landscape, Spelunker,” found traveling case, hand sculpted stalactites and stalagmites, resin, paint, artificial foliage, and soil, 13 x 9 x 9 inches

“Traveling Landscape, Assembly,” antique case, hand sculpted landscape, resin, paint, artificial foliage and trees, and a bulb light

 

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Photography

Seagulls and Pigeons Photobomb Shots of Rome by Photographer Skander Khlif 

February 2, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Skander Khlif, used with permission

Munich-based photographer Skander Khlif documents public spaces with the Shakespearian mentality that life is theater and we are all actors. The play becomes both comedy and drama in his recent From Rome, With Birds… series. Seagulls and pigeons take center stage as they fly between the camera and scenes of Italian street life.

Either well-timed shots or a curated collection of happy accidents, Khlif’s humorous series presents an alternate view of a city typically visited and photographed for its architecture. Like people passing in front of buildings, the birds are almost oblivious to the beauty they are obstructing. In the artist bio on his site, Khlif shares that his interest in photography began with a school project back in his home city of Tunis. The experience “made him aware of the power that photography has to reveal the beauty in each object,” even Roman birds.

To see more of Khlif’s photography from his travels around the world, check out his Behance portfolio and follow him on Instagram.

 

 



Design

LEGO Releases 864-Piece International Space Station Set That’s Out of This World

February 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © LEGO

On February 1, LEGO launched a new Expert Creator that’s on a mission to explore outer space. Comprised of 864 pieces, the International Space Station set is equipped with a robotic arm for satellite deployment, a miniature dock, and two astronauts ready to traverse the built-in spacewalk. It also has eight movable solar panels, three cargo spacecrafts, and booklet detailing the history of the design. Fully built, the realistic model stands more than 7 inches high, 12 inches long, and 19 inches wide.

Christoph Ruge designed the kit as part of a proposal for the 10th anniversary of the iconic brand’s ideas program, which has released a variety of sets with themes like dinosaur fossils and The Flintstones. Get your own miniature spacecraft on LEGO’s site, and see if you can put it together in the 92 minutes it takes the real model to orbit the earth. (via designboom)

 

 



Craft

Miniature Creatures Made of Felted Wool by Nastasya Shuljak

January 31, 2020

Andrew LaSane

Moscow-based artist Nastasya Shuljak transforms packs of wool into sculptures of small animals and other whimsical creatures. Plants sprout from the heads of smiling trees and other natural spirits. Polar bears, foxes, hares, and other critters stare through inquisitive eyes applied to their tiny woolen faces. Shuljak’s toys are an exercise in the flexibility of the material and also a way to bring joy to all who meet them.

Shuljak, a former theater artist and art teacher, tells Colossal that the practice of making creatures began when friends gifted her some wool. With that first bag she made a bear and a hare, and the menagerie has been growing ever since. “I saw children’s sonorous happiness in an adult man holding in his hands what I did,” says Shuljak. “Until now, it touches me, causes surprise and peace.” Commenting on the purpose of the figures, she added that her animals “do not aspire to the exhibition hall, do not claim to be art. These are just small lumps of joy, carefree second smiles.”

Shuljak teaches classes in Moscow on how to create the toys and also sells them via social media. For more information on upcoming workshops and to meet more of these adorable wool creatures, follow Shuljak on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Found Wood Pieces Morph into Twisted Animal Portraits by Jonatan Maldonado

January 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jonatan Maldonado, shared with permission

Jonatan Maldonado, a Los Angeles-based artist and creative director, has a strong sense of pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon causing humans to see faces and meaning in inanimate objects. In Creatures of the Ancient Forest, Maldonado’s black and white photographs frame found branches and chunks of wood at just the right angle, allowing viewers to catch a glimpse of a squawking bird or a horned animal poking its head out of a tree.

The dark, twisted series is ongoing, and the artist tells Colossal he’ll soon be in Alabama Hills, California, searching for more pieces⁠. “The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in California is the home to the oldest trees in the world,” he says. “Being surrounded by their spectacular shapes feels truly magical, or maybe it’s the lack of oxygen when hiking at 10,000 feet.” Follow Maldonado on Instagram to see what he spots next.

 

 



History Illustration Science

150,000 Botanical and Animal Illustrations Available for Free Download from Biodiversity Heritage Library

January 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

Billed as the world’s largest open access digital archive dedicated to life on Earth, the Biodiversity Heritage Library is comprised of animal sketches, historical diagrams, botanical studies, and various scientific research collected from hundreds of thousands of journals and libraries around the globe. In an effort to share information and promote collaboration to combat the ongoing climate crisis, the site boasts a collection of more than 55 million pages of literature, some of which dates back to the 15th century. At least 150,000 illustrations are available for free download in high-resolution files.

Among the collections is a digital copy of Joseph Wolf’s The Zoological Sketches, two volumes containing about 100 lithographs depicting wild animals housed in London’s Regent’s Park. Wolf originally sketched and painted the vignettes in the mid-19th century. Other diverse works range from a watercolor project detailing flowers indigenous to the Hawaiian islands, to a guide for do-it-yourself taxidermy replete with illustrated instructions published in 1833.

The library also offers a variety of tools, including search features to find species by taxonomy and another option to monitor online conversations related to books and articles in the archive. Consistently adding collections to the public domain, the organization currently is working on a project to promote awareness of the field notes available from the Smithsonian Institution Archives, the Smithsonian Libraries, and the National Museum of Natural History.

For those who don’t want to dig through pages of archives, head to Flickr and Instagram for a more streamlined visual experience. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Art

Floorboards Burst in Destabilizing Wood Installations by Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels

January 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

2019, part of Beauty Surplus at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. All images © Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Knoxville, Tennessee-born artist Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels ruptures long-held conceptions that human environments are stable⁠—literally. Part of two different projects at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Bothwell Fels creates ridge- and mountain-like installations that split and burst through the floorboards, sometimes even spanning multiple rooms. With lighter pigmented tops, the wood pieces swell and expand, solidifying their resemblance to natural features.

The artist’s goal is to transform mundane spaces into areas of disruption, forcing her viewers to question how their environments inform their senses of reality. In a statement, Bothwell Fels said her “sculptural ecosystems pierce the architectural facade of banality with fantastical outcroppings of growths, pores, wrinkles, spills, fractalized structures, and rupture, inviting a reassessment (of) the norms that are established and reinforced through the physical materiality of our built environments.”

Her show Beauty Surplus is on view through May 24 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Check out Instagram for more of Bothwell Fels’s destabilizing projects. (via Art Ruby)

2019, part of Beauty Surplus at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center

2019, part of Beauty Surplus at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center

“Untitled (Flooring)” (2016-2017), flooring, shims, plaster, at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery in New York City

“Untitled (Flooring)” (2016-2017), flooring, shims, plaster, at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery in New York City

“Untitled (Flooring)” (2016-2017), flooring, shims, plaster, at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery in New York City

“Untitled (Flooring)” (2016-2017), flooring, shims, plaster, at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery in New York City