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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

 

 



Art

Hidden Paintings Revealed with Each Turn of an Anamorphic Glass Sculpture by Thomas Medicus

January 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

In his latest project “What It Is Like To Be,” artist Thomas Medicus (previously) employs his illusory  style to create an anamorphic glass sculpture that changes with every 90 degree turn. The cubic piece is comprised of 144 glass strips that are arranged to depict four distinct images—clothes strung up on a line, bats clinging to a branch as they hang upside down, a diverse patch of mushrooms, and three figures who are caught in the rain. Each glass portion is handpainted separately with acrylic before being mounted in a concrete socle that sits inside a wooden bowl and stretches about 30 centimeters long.

The Austria-based artist’s project references a 1974 paper by American philosopher Thomas Nagel. Titled “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?,” the seminal text questions the relationship between human and animal subjectivity, stating that although people can imagine life as a bat, they can never know truly what it means to be a different animal. Nagel’s work influenced later conversations about consciousness and the ways humans understand and relate to other living beings. In a note to Colossal, Medicus described his connection to Nagel’s writing.

For quite a long time, I was seeking to understand how I can value the natural sciences without having to devalue subjectivity, personal experience, or qualitative research. Back then I wasn’t really able to do that. For me, art was a way to question an exclusively materialistic worldview without at the same time having to be a spiritual or religious person. “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” by Thomas Nagel provides a great philosophical basis to put these different worlds in one frame and personally helped me to do that.

To see more of the artist’s creative process, head over to his Instagram and Vimeo.

All images © Thomas Medicus, shared with permission

 

 



Art

Enormous Metal Sculptures by Selçuk Yılmaz Embody Chaotic Effects of Climate Change

January 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Selçuk Yılmaz, shared with permisison

By hammering and welding more than 20,0000 metal pieces together, artist Selçuk Yılmaz (previously) creates massive sculptures that manifest the energy of the natural world as it becomes more damaged by humans and climate change. The Turkey-based artist’s latest project, Blue Planet, took almost two years to complete and features a human figure in addition to Yılmaz’s usual animals, like a nearly 10-foot-tall lion that weighs approximately 220 pounds.

Yılmaz tells Colossal he wanted the project to speak to environmental destruction, so he placed a human hand at the bottom of the arranged piece to signify it being the root cause. A lurking vulture waits nearby, hoping to eat the other animals after they die. “The woman holds her hand on a blue planet as if (to) save everything. It’s like a chaos,” he says. For more of the artist’s imposing creations, head to Behance or Instagram.

 

 



Art

Animal-Human Hybrids Spotted on New York Subway in Surreal Paintings by Matthew Grabelsky

January 12, 2020

Andrew LaSane

Images courtesy of the artist, used with permission

Los Angeles-based artist Matthew Grabelsky (previously) is back with a new collection of oil paintings of people with animal heads casually navigating the New York City subway system. The paintings combine the mundane with the surreal, as others on the commute and the environments remain neutral to the hybrid creatures.

Grabelsky’s paintings are inspired by the years he spent riding the subways in New York as a kid and by his early fascination with Greek mythology. Small details including zoo posters, stickers, T-shirts, and toys add humor to the art, while light reflecting off subway tiles and molded sets show the artist’s technical ability to paint hyperrealistic scenes.

In a recent interview with Thinkspace Project‘s blog Sour Harvest, Grabelsky shared that his characters will soon leave the subway, but added that he wants the shift to be organic. “My concept is that these characters started on the subway and then go out into the wider world. I certainly want to do paintings set in different locations in New York. I was born and am currently living in Los Angeles and so I expect that my characters will make it out to LA at some point.”

To witness the characters’ eventual emergence from the East Coast underground, follow Matthew Grabelsky on Instagram.

 

 



Illustration

Combining Vibrant Shapes and Simple Lines, Illustrator Willian Santiago Evokes Scenes of Brazil

January 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Willian Santiago

With an affinity for bold colors, Willian Santiago documents what he sees around Londrina, the city in southern Brazil where he lives. He utilizes bright blues, greens, and reds to create his illustrations of wild animals and posed female figures that often resemble the geometric shapes and lines of woodblock prints frequently seen in Brazilian art.

“I love exploring,” Santiago said in an interview with WePresent. “It may be the step I spend most of my time on when creating an illustration. Color arouses different feelings in people. I ultimately want my work to create feelings of joy.” With a background in textile and pattern design, the artist says “old Vogue magazine covers, Art Deco and overly posed figures” often serve as inspiration, in addition to being “surrounded by strong women” as a child. Follow Santiago’s striking digital illustrations on Instagram, and check out his available prints on Society6. (via Tu Recepcja)

 

 



Art History

Researchers Unearth World’s Oldest Figurative Artwork in Indonesian Cave

December 13, 2019

Grace Ebert

A recent finding in Sulawesi, Indonesia, is changing our conceptions of the origins of visual art. Fifteen researchers this week published an article in Nature describing prehistoric cave art that they believe was created about 43,900 years ago. The art depicts multiple therianthropes—mythical creatures that have both human and animal characteristics like beaks and tails—hunting wild pigs and cattle with spears. Traditionally, therianthropes were employed for sharing folklore, religious myths, and spiritual beliefs. Clear renderings of the creatures are uncommon, the report says. The oldest depiction previously recorded is a carved figurine with the head of a cat that originated in Germany and dates back nearly 40,000 years. These Indonesian findings also predate the Lascaux cave paintings found in France by about 20,000 years. “This hunting scene is—to our knowledge—currently the oldest pictorial record of storytelling and the earliest figurative artwork in the world,” the report said. (via Artnet)

 

 



Art

New Book Collects ROA’s Black-and-White Creatures in Photographs from Around the World

December 11, 2019

Grace Ebert

All photographs © ROA, shared with permission. Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Those unable to experience the black-and-white murals of Belgian artist ROA (previously) in person can admire photographs of his works in the recently published Codex. Released by Lannoo Publishers, the 352-page book contains four chapters centered on Eurasia, Africa, America, and Oceania, regions where ROA’s depictions of local animals blanket building walls. The photographs portray a snake wound around itself, six different species perched on vertical ledges, and an alligator on its back with its tail scaling a fire escape.

ROA works directly on the building, foregoing sketches and projections, and uses the architecture to inform the ways he paints birds, rodents, and other native creatures. Captivated by anatomy, the artist attempts to animate his paintings, giving energy and life to species often disregarded by humans. “Exploration of nature, more specifically of the animal world, can lead to increased empathy,” he says. “It teaches you something substantial about how one should live a good life.” The monochromatic murals’ scale often makes animals larger than their real-life bodies, securing and emboldening their monumental presence.

Codex, which is available now, also incorporates writing from RJ Rushmore, Lucy R. Lippard, Johan Braeckman, Gwenny Cooman, Robert R. Williams, and Kathy De Nève.

Johannesburg, South Africa

Puerto Rico

Vardø, Norway

São Paulo, Brazil

Perth, Australia

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States