animals

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Art

A Hanging Mobile of Bronze Hand Sculptures Casts Playful Silhouettes of Animals

February 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Os Pássaros e o Lobo” (2017), bronze, steel cables, metal bars, and light projector, 200 x 200. Image © Casa Triângulo

A bronze piece by Brazilian artist Albano Afonso uses multiple sets of dangling hands that mimic shadow puppetry. Titled “Os Pássaros e o Lobo,” or “The Birds and the Wolf,” the sculpture is illuminated by a light projector, casting dark silhouettes on the wall behind it that resembles a mobile of active animals. In a statement, Afonso is described as being “interested in the anatomy of light: its intensity or softness, its ability to both illuminate and obscure, its sources, its symbolic and utilitarian uses, and its beauty.” You can follow his light-sensitive projects on Instagram.

 

 



Craft

Papier-Mâché Masks Crafted by Liz Sexton Bring Animals to Human Scale

February 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Liz Sexton, shared with permission

Rejecting anthropocentrism, Liz Sexton wants to break down the boundary between human and animal life. The Minneapolis-based artist creates large papier-mâché pieces of foxes, owls, and other wild animals designed to be worn by humans, creating a hybrid being that she often situates in non-natural environments, like a rat near the subway lines or a porcupine fish out of water.

Sexton began making her facial masks a few years ago after constructing a couple of Halloween costumes, although she’s worked with the versatile paper material for many years. Made of brown paper, paste, and paper pulp, each piece takes a couple of weeks, if not months, to create. The artist tells Colossal that her “hope is that the viewer gains not only awareness of the animal but a sense of kinship and empathy.”

I often work on species facing existential threats, such as marine life, though I suppose this uncertainty applies to most animals at this point. Photographing the animal heads worn out of their natural habitats, and in our immediate world, highlights the displacement that many creatures experience. I also enjoy working on animals that likely live very close to us but we don’t necessary see. Bringing them out into our human habitats, on a human scale, they become neighbors, commuters, a visible part of our community.

When not being worn, Sexton’s masks rest flat on the floor, appearing as a bust and adding to the reverential quality she hopes to inspire. For more of the artist’s animalistic projects—and to see the miniature rhinos, bears, and zebras she recently created for The New York Times Style Magazine⁠—head to Instagram.

 

 



Craft Illustration

Paper Quilling Process Shown Step-by-Step in New Video by Yulia Brodskaya

February 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Jaguar.” All images © Yulia Brodskaya

Known for her technique of “painting with paper,” Yulia Brodskaya (previously) has crafted a new piece titled “Jaguar,” a portrait blending human and cat features. In a recent video posted to her Facebook, the U.K.-based artist shares her creative process, starting with a sketched figure on a black board. Brodskaya then fills in small patches with neutral-toned paper, clipping them in place until she attaches the next piece. The artist even utilizes a tweezers to position some of the singular layers and shows her quilling technique up close as she bends strips of paper before wrapping the edge around the folds. For more of Brodskaya’s paper paintings, head to 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

Wildlife, Fruit, and Vines Merge in Surreal Paintings by Nunzio Paci

January 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Ivy that dreams of running far” (2019), oil on board, 90 x 60 centimeters. All images © Nunzio Paci, shared with permission

Combining a dense mix of natural elements, Bologna, Italy-based artist  Nunzio Paci (previously) reckons with the fragile line between life and death. Many of his 2019 oil paintings visualize both alert and recumbent animals, often with open eyes, intertwined with each other, leafy vines, and tall flowers. “Let me rest between brome and stones” depicts a dead deer with glazed over eyes lying among tall grasses and prairie flowers. “Blueberry chicken that thinks about tomorrow” has a more literal correlation to its title, featuring a blue- and purple-hued bird with its breast feathers replaced by the similarly colored fruit.

Paci tells Colossal that he hopes this surreal series reflects his “current exploration of the natural world and its connections with the dream sphere, nostalgia, and memory.” He created these pieces during his residency at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

If you’re in Los Angeles, head downtown to Corey Helford Gallery, where Paci’s work is part of the group exhibition The Influence of Fellini: A Surreal 100th Birthday Celebration until February 29. Otherwise, follow the artist on Instagram.

“Condition of stillness of a nameless cannibalized” (2019), oil on board, 90 x 60 centimeters

“Heart of gerbera” (2019), oil on board, 30 x 45 centimeters

“Blueberry chicken that thinks about tomorrow” (2019), oil on board, 30 x 45 centimeters

“Let me rest between brome and stones” (2019), oil on board, 30.5 x 30.5 centimeters

“Pollination syndrome” (2019), oil on board, 60 x 45 centimeters

“Tulip that confuses tears for dew” (2019), oil on board, 90 x 60 centimeters

“When pheasants learn to fly” (2019), oil on board, 90 x 60 centimeters

 

 



Photography

Stunning Photographs from 2019 Ocean Art Contest Explore Depths of Aquatic Life Around the World

January 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Crab-Eater Seal” by Greg Lecoeur, Best of Show. All images © Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition 2019, shared with permission

A 2019 contest organized by the Underwater Photography Guide has collected some of the best photographs of aquatic life around the globe, from an image capturing a seal maneuvering through a chunk of ice in Antarctic waters to another depicting an octopus resting on the ocean floor. This year’s Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest drew thousands of entires from 78 countries that were judged by renowned underwater photographers Tony Wu, Martin Edge, and Marty Snyderman, along with Underwater Photography Guide publisher Scott Gietler. It also handed out more than $85,000 to entrants.

We’ve included some of our favorite photographs from across the 17 categories, including marine life behavior, portrait, conservation, and reefscapes, although a full list of winners can be found on the contest’s site. Stay tuned for information on the 2020 contest in September.

“Biodiversity” by Greg Lecoeur, Reefscapes

“Gigantic Aggregation of Munk Devil Rays in Baja California Sur” by Jason Clue, Marine Life Behavior

“Larval tripod fish” by Fabien Michenet, Blackwater

“Radiography” by Stefano Cerbai, Macro

“Strange Encounters” by Hannes Klostermann, Marine Life Behavior

“A friendly ride” by Paula Vianna, Marine Life Behavior

“Leopard Shark” by Jake Wilton, Novice Wide Angle

“Treats from Maloolaba River” by Jenny Stock, Nudibranchs

“Coconut Octopus” by Enrico Somogyi, Compact Wide Angle

“The Hypnotist” by Dave Johnson, Macro

“Eye of the Tornado” by Adam Martin, Wide Angle

“Under the Pier” by Jose Antonio Castellano, Wide Angle