animals

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Art

Twisted and Layered Balloons Form Eye-Popping Animal Sculptures by Masayoshi Matsumoto

May 20, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Master balloon artist Masayoshi Matsumoto (previously) continues to amaze with his incredibly intricate animal creations. Using only balloons—the artist abstains from using any additional materials like markers or adhesives—Matsumoto shapes his raw materials to mimic the unique limbs, spikes, and wattles of a wide range of animals. The graceful silhouettes of birds and insects with their textural exoskeletons frequently appear in the artist’s body of work, but he also tackles flora including pitcher plants and cacti, and other creatures from mammals to maggots. Discover more of Matsumoto’s inflatable menagerie on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 



Design

Minimalist Modular Systems Turn Walls Into Feline Playgrounds

May 8, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman, founders of CatastrophiCreations, design modular wall-mounted systems to keep cats active. Parents of humans and pets alike (myself included) are all too familiar with the trip hazard of toys scattered on the floor. Wilson and Hanneman move the activity zone to the wall with vertical playgrounds that allow cats to climb, jump, scratch, and even tip-toe across swinging bridges. Eschewing bright colors and plastic materials, the designers use solid wood, hidden brackets, and canvas to create more subtle and sustainable products. You can learn more about the the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based business in an interview and factory tour on Etsy’s blog. Check out their range of products, from the Thunderdome to the Temple Complex, in their online store.

 

 



Art

Unnatural Fusions of Animal and Plant Life Form New Elaborate Sculptures by Ellen Jewett

May 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Canadian artist Ellen Jewett (previously) is known for her elaborately decorated polymer sculptures that combine wildlife with flowers, plants, and trees. Jewett, whose educational background is in animal science and behavior, uses her deep understanding of how creatures move through the world to inform her fantastical artworks. In one sculpture, ferns unfurl from the tail of a peacock, while a marsh of cattails grows from the abdomen of a dragonfly in another.

With her most recent sculptures from winter 2018 and spring 2019, Jewett shares with Colossal that she is starting to explore the use of unnatural colors. In doing so, Jewett seeks “to more deeply probe the emotional dimensions of my subjects. I want the emotional presence of the animal to be clearly present even if the precise interpretation remains indiscernible.”

The artist’s work will be shown in a show opening May 11, 2019 at the Urban Nation Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin, as well as at the MESA Contemporary Arts Museum in Arizona and the Beinart Gallery in Melbourne in September and November, respectively.

 

 



Art

Small Glass Animal Sculptures by Claire Kelly Connect to Larger Issues of Conservation

May 5, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images courtesy of Claire Kelly

Rhode Island-based glass artist Claire Kelly creates adorable animal sculptures out of glass that connect to serious issues concerning the environment. Balancing on balls and standing precariously in boats and on peanuts, the little birds, giraffes, and elephants invite viewers to consider the fragility of the world and how micro-level choices can have a major impact.

Kelly tells Colossal that the series of animal sculptures began in 2014 after a hiatus from her other work. The works were born from drawings and sketches she made as a creative outlet. Working with colored strips of glass called cane, the process and materials affect the size of the final pieces. The cane allows for complex patterns, but in preparation for the glass blowing process they need to be heated on a flat kiln shelf. “The size of the kiln shelf plays a part in how large the final glass piece can be,” Kelly explains. “The larger the shelf the heavier it is and the larger team and heating chamber I need to have.” While she does occasionally work at a larger scale, the artist says that size is not the most important factor because she is inviting viewers into “an intimate microcosm.”

Although she works with easily recognizable animals, Kelly’s use of color and pattern adds an imaginative element. “Depending on the animal and form I try to use colors that come right up to the edge of being conflicting but somehow work together,” she explains. “Color is so emotionally charged and I often find myself getting really happy when using certain colors in combination…I experiment a lot and have a sense of how some colors react to their neighbors. There’s a really sense of harmony and balance that I look for when planning a color scheme.”

As Kelly has continued to explore representational themes in her work, she shares that her has recently been inspired by creating multiple related pieces in a tableau. “It’s modular and adds interest from a design standpoint,” the artist shares. “I can create forms that interact with each other while telling a story about their little world.” To discover more of Claire Kelly’s colorful creatures, follow her on Instagram.

 

 



Design

Bold Line Drawings Layered on Top of Deconstructed Images of Fruit, Flowers, and Animals in Tattoos by Mattia Mambo

April 30, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Mattia Mambo creates graphic interpretations of his clients’ favorite fruits, celebrities, and animals in minimalist tattoos. The designs use thick, rounded lines to highlight the shape of an object or face, with bold splashes of color creating an abstracted version of the subject underneath. Sometimes the Milan-based tattoo artist transforms the shape of a word into a pictorial representation of an animal, like in his sloth tattoo below. Other designs borrow from classic art historical references, such as René Magritte’s famous painting of a pipe, or Frida Kahlo’s recognizable flower crown and facial features.

Mambo shares with Colossal that he attended art school but was self-taught as a tattooer, and he developed his destrutturato (unstructured) style by chance. “What inspired me most has probably been my passion for graphic designs and logos—I love simple shapes. Every day I’m encouraged by the objective of simplifying each image as much as possible and making it clear and intuitive using only few black lines. But both black lines and colors are fundamental: the colors tell what the black lines can’t do.”

You can see more of Mambo’s two-part tattoos on Instagram.

 

 



Art Craft

Graceful Figures and Shimmering Peacocks Embroidered on Tulle are Inspired by Haute Couture

April 27, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Moscow-based fabric artist and designer Katerina Marchenko stitches brightly colored threads into tulle to form elaborate embroidered images of animals, portraits, and anatomical studies. In their hoops, Marchenko’s pieces work as framed thread paintings. Bird and angel wings appear to have dimension and human eyes pop thanks to the artist’s attention to color harmony and shading.

Marchenko skips the sketching phase and starts each new piece with contours before allowing improvisation and the process itself to dictate what the final design will look like. The artist explains to Colossal that her aesthetic and techniques are inspired in part by fashion and haute couture. A 2016 sewing course inspired her to create an embroidered tulle blouse, and the following year she took an embroidery course at Ecole Lesage School in Paris.

“Embroidery is a meditative process which helps me to calm down and gather all my thoughts,” Marchenko tells Colossal, adding that the images she chooses are ones through which she can express her emotions. To see more of Katerina’s colorful creations follow her on Instagram, and browse her online shop if you want to take one of the works home.

 

 



Craft

Candy-Colored Plants and Animals from the Imagination of Hiné Mizushima

April 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Vancouver, Canada-based textile artist Hiné Mizushima (previously) brings a cuddly, colorful approach to creepy-crawly plants and animals. Fungi, insects, and single-cell organisms get a felted makeover in pastel hues with embroidered, stitched, and crocheted details. Mizushima often optimizes her works for display either by allowing them to be worn as brooches or by affixing them to plaques or in bell jars to showcase at home.

In addition to her stationary creations, Mzushima also creates animations, including a recent music video commission for They Might Be Giants, which engages the traditional Japanese needlework technique kogin. You can see more of Mizushima’s felted flora and fauna on Behance and Instagram, and purchase prints of various pieces on Etsy.

Commission for The New York Times Canadian web campaign