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Design

This Japanese Zoo is Using Stuffed Capybaras to Visualize Social Distancing

May 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images by @chacha0rca

Take a seat for lunch at Izu Shabonten Zoo in Shizuoka, Japan, and meet your plush dining partners. To help restaurant patrons visualize social distancing guidelines, the zoo has occupied chairs with stuffed capybaras. The soft toys encourage diners to space out among the tables and maintain an appropriate distance.

With only a few other cuddly creatures in the mix, the institution’s main choice is a nod to its decades-long fascination with the giant rodent. Izu Zoo boasts a plethora of capybara-themed programming and souvenirs and also is credited with creating open-air hot baths in 1982 that offer the animals, which are native to South America, a place to bathe, relax, and warm up during cold winters.

Although many of us won’t be visiting the wild creatures in the near future, you can get a glimpse at their steamy retreats below. For similarly visual social distancing, check out Singapore’s tape demarcations. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Hundreds of Intricately Cut Layers Compose Impeccably Detailed Wildlife Sculptures by Patrick Cabral

May 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Patrick Cabral

Manila-based artist Patrick Cabral (previously) layers paper incised with decorative motifs and lacy patterns into dazzling sculptural portraits of wildlife. Ribbed tentacles with alternating gold and white dangle from an octopus, while elegant pieces comprise a rhinoceros’s exterior. Each multi-layered work contains hundreds of individual paper pieces that are entirely hand-cut.

The crowned lion (shown below) spans more than five feet and is one of Cabral’s largest projects to date. “Working on a piece like this is a paradox. It’s a lot of work that usually spans around 3 months. I love the whole process of cutting because it’s sort of meditative for me,” he writes on Instagram. “It’s opposite though once I started assembling the pieces together because it becomes really stressful (especially) on pieces as big as this.”

For more of the artist’s intricate compositions, head to Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft

A Hypochondriac’s Obsession is Amplified in Mesmerizing Anatomical Mandalas Cut From Paper

May 5, 2020

Vanessa Ruiz

All images © Makerie Studio

For a hypochondriac, any sense of pain or discomfort can be a point of fixation, something specifically known as somatic symptom disorder. This type of obsession inspired paper artist Julie Wilkinson to create a project that would not only distract her from this consuming condition but also bring awareness to an often misunderstood disorder. Her project is aptly titled Manifestation.

Wilkinson told Fubiz that she’s “been hypochondriac for as long as I can remember, and I have always had a fascination with medicine and the psychology related to certain conditions. This project was a way of visualizing the endless cycle that hypochondriacs often find themselves in, where every feeling is magnified, amplified, and where one little ache can turn into multiple symptoms—real or imagined—which take up our thoughts entirely.”

These layered illustrations of anatomical parts in a mandala motif were cut by Wilkinson with none other than a scalpel. The result is a visual expression of somatic symptom disorder—a dizzying array of magnified and multiplied sensations across various interconnected body parts and systems. The mandala is befitting of the meditative and healing nature of the project.

Wilkinson and Joyanne Horscroft make up the transatlantic creative duo behind Makerie Studio. While Wilkinson lives in New York, Horscroft is based in London. Not only are they master paper artists but they’re also set designers, who create imaginative and exquisitely detailed paper sculptures for window displays, events, advertising, and special artistic commissions. They’ve gained the attention of Google, Gucci, Nike, and Victoria’s Secret, to name a few. Wilkinson and Horscroft have developed their own unique paper techniques and are inspired by nature, steampunk mechanicals, and whimsical worlds.

Follow Makerie Studio’s magnificent paper creations and installations on Instagram.

 

 



Art Illustration

Technicolor Animal Portraits Inked in Watercolor Tattoos by Sasha Unisex

April 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Sasha Unisex

Based in St. Petersburg, artist Sasha Unisex often begins a bold tattoo concept by painting a prismatic wolf or a cherry blossom-speckled origami crane with watercolor. She fills arrangements of stark shapes and precise gradients with crimson, cerulean, and tangerine hues. When the tattooist recreates her inky animals and florals on her clients’ bodies, the chromatic foxes and cats—which sometimes are outfitted with a plaid hat and pipe—look strikingly similar to the original watercolor paintings.

The artist often shares details about her travels and process, in addition to comparisons of her various wolves, cats, and lions, on her Instagram. If you’re not quite ready to commit to a permanent companion, though, Unisex offers temporary tattoos, prints, and apparel in her shop.

 

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Art

Porcelain Fauna and Human Anatomy Embedded into Thick Botanical Fields by Artist Melis Buyruk

April 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Habitat The Pig” (2019), porcelain, 50 x 50 centimeters. All images © Melis Buyruk, shared with permission

When asked why her porcelain works are unpainted, Turkish artist Melis Buyruk answered that adding color to nature dictates meaning. “I like to avoid using descriptive elements such as color,” she said in an interview about her recent exhibition Habitats at Leila Heller Gallery. “I also prefer to encourage the spectator to immers(e) themselves into the work, and get lost in the details, discovering something new with each viewing. Using color would separate forms more succinctly, and I am interested in non-hierarchical hybridity.”

Based in Istanbul, Buyruk creates monochromatic fields that are concentrated with realistic flowers, succulents, and mosses. Many of the large-scale works span more than four feet and are encased in wooden boxes. The artist discreetly situates a pig, hawk, and bearded dragon, among other birds and rodents, near the center. Look closer, though, and spot human ears and lips.

By embedding animals and anatomy evenly into the botanical topography, Buyruk hopes to dismantle hierarchies of species and reject the idea of human superiority. She also has chosen animals that inspire fearful reactions from people.

Certain animals pose a serious threat to human evolution, which has been engraved in our DNA. We find some animals uncomfortable or frightening because (of) their shape or color, causing us to negatively and incur a ‘flight’ response. I wanted to juxtapose our age-old, biologically rendered fear against our socially conditioned admiration for flowers, and position them together.

Buyruk noted that while quarantined in her home because of the coronavirus pandemic, she’s been thinking about the instability of people’s control over nature. “What we experienced during the pandemic process enabled us to face the weaknesses of the human species again,” she said. For more of the artist’s impeccably detailed habitats, head to Instagram.

“Habitat The Bearded Dragon” (2019), porcelain and 18K gold, 47.24 x 57.09 inches

“Habitat The Bird” (2019), porcelain, 47.24 x 57.09 inches

“Habitat The Hawk” (2019), porcelain, 47.24 x 47.24 inches

“Habitat The Rat 2” (2019), porcelain, 50 x 50 centimeters

“Habitat The Rat” (2019), porcelain, 47.24 x 57.09 inches

“Habitat The Snake” (2019), porcelain and 18k gold, 49.21 x 49.21 inches

“Habitat The Tarantula” (2019), porcelain, 47.2 x 57.1 inches

 

 



Craft

Florals, Beads, and Lace Embellish Whimsical Faux Taxidermy and Anatomical Sculptures

April 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Natalia Lubieniecka, shared with permission

Based in Austria, Natalia Lubieniecka scours Vienna’s markets for antique objects, fabrics, and anatomical posters that eventually inform and meld into her peculiar sculptures. Whether it be a blush-colored heart enveloped in florals, a supine frog with exposed entrails, or a deceased bird covered in a lace bodice, her fantastical works speak to the fragile relationship between life and death.

The sculptor tells Colossal that her interest in organs and bodies began after a visit to Naturhistorische Museum Wien, where she encountered taxidermy of birds, insects, and other animals. Her favorite piece, though, is her faux anatomical heart because it pushed her to expand her source material. “I think that human and animal anatomy has something magical about it. Each organ is responsible not only for the functioning of the body, but also for feelings, thoughts, and emotions, and these transport us to another magical dimension,” she said.

Lubieniecka often posts her available pieces on Instagram, but be sure to check out her Etsy shop, too.

 

 



History Illustration Science

A Natural History Compendium Catalogs Albertus Seba’s Exotic Specimens through Exacting Illustrations

April 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Taschen, shared with permission

Packed with careful illustrations of striped snakes, preserved creatures, and now-extinct animals, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the most impressive natural history compendiums of the 18th Century. Spanning nearly 600 pages, the new edition from Taschen features the work of Amsterdam-based pharmacist and zoologist Albertus Seba, who was a renowned collector of natural life. He commissioned the meticulous illustrations in 1731 that he then published into four, hand-colored volumes. The new Cabinet of Natural Curiosities catalogs these original drawings of exotic specimens in a single text and features writing by Irmgard Müsch, Jes Rust, and Rainer Willmann. Grab your copy from Taschen’s site.

 

 

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