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Craft Design

Fold an Elaborate Origami Menagerie with DIY Instructions from Jo Nakashima

May 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jo Nakashima

Since 2010, Brazilian origami artist Jo Nakashima has amassed a trove of original designs ranging from modular cubes and kinetic works to multicolor, angular wildlife. His creations require just a single sheet of double-sided paper and a deft hand and vary in complexity: Nakashima marks the eagle with pleated wings, quacking duck, and writhing snake shown here as intermediate or above. Head to YouTube for detailed instructions on folding your own versions of his intricate designs, but take note of his warning: “Although I call it ‘simplified,’ it doesn’t mean it is simple: it is just simpler than the original version, but actually it is still a bit complex.”

 

 

 



Photography

Over 100 Young Crocodiles Find Refuge on Their Father's Back in India's Chambal River

May 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Dhritiman Mukherjee, shared with permission

The gharial, a large crocodile with a distinctive bulge on its snout, is critically endangered in the wild, with researchers counting only a few hundred individuals in 2017. Living primarily in the rivers of Nepal and India, the scaly reptiles saw a rapid decline since the 1930s due to overfishing and loss of habitats from sand mining and dams, and biologists estimate the population has dwindled to only two percent. Thanks to the National Chambal Sanctuary, though, which is home to a substantial group of gharial, the species is growing.

Photographer and conservationist Dhritiman Mukherjee visited the enclave southeast of New Dehli a few years ago where he captured striking images of a father swimming through the murky river with more than 100 young clinging to his back. Measuring 16 to 17 feet long, the male likely was carrying the offspring from 7 to 8 female gharials, which lay anywhere from 20 to 95 eggs each year. “Some breeding programs [and rerelease in the wild] have taken place in the Chambal. So, that’s why I selected the subject so that it gets attention from policymakers or concerned people,” Mukherjee told PetaPixel.

The Kolkata-based photographer often travels to document wildlife around the world and is headed back to the sanctuary this month. You can stay up-to-date with his work on his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Flora and Fauna Assume Eccentric Guises in Bill Mayer's Wryly Playful Portraits

May 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

“The Wakening”. All images © Bill Mayer, shared with permission

Royal frogs, masquerading lemurs, and florals with human faces are just some of the eccentric characters in acclaimed illustrator Bill Mayer’s (previously) gouache paintings. The traditional aesthetic of European still-life, aristocratic portraiture, and romantic landscape paintings set the scene for uncanny, chimerical subjects who engage in dreamlike encounters or gaze haughtily at the viewer. Gouache, which is water-soluble and more vividly opaque than watercolor, allows the artist to mimic the incredible detail of oil paint.

Mayer continues to work on commissioned projects for recognizable publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, and Scientific American. He often shares his varied assignments on his blog, including a collaboration earlier this year with the producers of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to submit a painting to the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. “Duck Judges”—although disqualified from winning the stamp design for technical reasons—raised $25,000 in funds to support the conservation efforts of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Mayer is currently working toward some group shows, and you can keep up with updates on his website, where you can also find prints available for sale in his shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Le Dauphin de Rana”

“Mr. Moostache”

“The Offering”

“Duck Judges”

“Le Magistrat”

“Le Visiteur”

“Mother Opossum”

“Kinky Ducks No. 02”

 

 

 



Illustration

Elaborate Narratives Emerge From the Surreal, Mysterious Worlds of Victo Ngai's Illustrations

May 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Hummingbird” (2019). All images © Victo Ngai, shared with permission

Starting with a single word or short prompt from an editor or brand, Victo Ngai (previously) imagines fantastical dreamscapes brimming with surreal details. The Los Angeles-based, Hong Kong-born illustrator collaborates on commissioned projects that, although intended to be paired with an article or advertisement, become visual narratives in their own right. She shapes a tiger from coiled red ribbons, places an enormous hound among a nighttime cityscape veiled in shades of blue, and reinterprets the sun and its rays as a colorful, segmented circle hovering above the horizon. Each piece envisions an elaborately constructed world laced with metaphor and mystery.

Utilizing both analog and digital techniques, Ngai begins with an initial stylized composition. “Sometimes a bright spark can lead to nothing, and sometimes a great idea is not translatable visually. A concept can die anywhere through this ideation process, and I can only breathe easy once a solid preliminary sketch arrives,” she tells Colossal. After drawing a black-and-white outline, she combines various mediums and scanned textures into her final, layered works.

At the moment, Ngai is working on a few illustrated children’s books, which you can follow on Behance and Instagram. She also sells prints and other goods in her shop.

 

“Leap” (2013)

“Tiger” (2022)

“Late Night Dining” (2012)

“The Day” (2012)

“Breast Labyrinth” (2012)

“Empress” (2020)

 

 



Art

Memories Rendered in Ballpoint Pen and Oil Paint by Nicolas V. Sanchez Recall Moments of Belonging

May 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Untitled” (2022), ballpoint pen on paper, 8.9375 x 10.9375 inches. All images courtesy of Sugarlift, shared with permission

Through ballpoint pen drawings and hazy oil paintings, Mexican-American artist Nicolas V. Sanchez (previously) conjures childhood memories, instances of intimacy, and a sense of yearning. Sanchez, whose works vacillate between the incredibly realistic and the dreamlike fog associated with recollection, finds his subject matter in the unassuming and every day. He fixates on the texture of a horse’s short coat and wrinkled neck, the way sleeping children hang their limbs haphazardly off the edge of a couch, and how sunlight permeates sheer curtains scrunched together on a rod.

No matter the medium, Sanchez’s works often evoke his upbringing in the Midwest and his experience as a child of Mexican immigrants. Many of the pieces shown here are included in the artist’s solo show belongings at Sugarlift, which considers connections to histories, ancestors, and geographies. “‘Belonging to’ is always in relation with an enduring sense of to ‘be longing’ for connections that transcend singular explanation,” a statement says.

belongings is on view through June 16 at the New York City gallery, and you can peek into Sanchez’s painstaking process on Instagram.

 

“Mariana” (2022), ballpoint pen on paper, 9.25 x 7.25 inches

“Untitled” (2022), oil on canvas, 96 x 78 inches

“Untitled” (2022), oil on canvas, 96 x 144 inches

“Untitled” (2022), oil on canvas, 96 x 108 inches

“Grandpa” (2021), ballpoint pen on sketchbook, 3.5 x 5 inches

“Family Wall” (2021), ballpoint pen on sketchbook, 3.5 x 5.5 inches

 

 



Science

Scientists Uncover a New Deep-Sea Crown Jellyfish Species with Dozens of Coiled Tentacles

May 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

Curled tentacles, soft spikes, and an unusually large, translucent bell distinguish a newly discovered species of jellyfish. The uncommon A. Reynoldsi became the subject of study for scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (previously) earlier this year when one of the deep-sea creatures was documented floating through the midnight zone. “Fifteen years ago, MBARI researchers spotted a large jelly that looked like Atolla but lacked the telltale trailing tentacle, and their curiosity was piqued,” MBARI says.

Bigger than most in the Atolla genus, this particular specimen measured 5.1 inches across with about 30 to 40 small, coiled tentacles that differ from other species’ singular, long appendages. The institute has only recorded about ten sightings of the A. Reynoldsi since 2006, a discovery researchers say “remind(s) us that we still know so little about the ocean, the largest living space on Earth.” (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 

A Colossal

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Sailing Ship Kite