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Illustration

Charming Illustrations by Rosanna Tasker Feature Adventurous Women in Stylized Worlds

October 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Using a combination of  pencil, crayon, and gouache, Bristol-based illustrator Rosanna Tasker creates evocative illustrations that convey lively energy and fantastical nostalgia. In Tasker’s illustrations, female figures are often the protagonists, with animals and plants playing supporting roles. Strong geometric shapes, concentrated mark-making, and carefully considered negative space in tightly controlled color palettes form dynamic imagery.

Tasker, who is 25, studied illustration at University of the West of England, Bristol. In an interview with Irina & Silviu, the artist explained that she found her artistic voice by “unlearning everything I was told at school and college about how I should draw. That stuff is important too, and I do believe in learning the rules before breaking them, but to find your own unique style you definitely have to return to your uninhibited childhood roots and rediscover what comes naturally to you,” she shared.

Tasker works full-time as an illustrator, with a roster of editorial and publishing clients including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Tangent Books. Her prints and greeting cards are available from Etsy and Toi Art Gallery, where a selection of works are in the gallery’s Unstoppable Women show. Take a peek inside Tasker’s studio in this interview, and follow along with her latest projects on Instagram.

 

 



Art Illustration

Meticulously Painted Portraits by Miho Hirano Fuse Introspective Women with Plants and Animals

October 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Solitary female figures command the canvas in oil paintings by artist Miho Hirano. The Japanese artist creates detailed portraits of her human protagonists, who avoid direct eye contact with the viewer. Hirano’s women stare off into the distance as fish and butterflies swarm and flower blossoms and vines seem to grow from the figures’ hair. In a statement on Gallery Sumire’s website, Hirano describes the mission of her work as “to express the changing situation of life’s ugliness and maturity.”

Hirano draws inspiration from her upbringing, noting that her mother cared for plants and animals, and those motifs have continued in her work even though she does not currently reside in a nature-filled place. She also explained to WOW x WOW that she has long found painting a resonant medium to express her thoughts, explore ideas, and escape reality.

Hirano graduated from Musashino Art University’s department of Oil Painting and currently resides in Chiba, Japan. The artist had her first solo show in the U.S. at Corey Helford Gallery in 2017. Hirano’s newest body of work, Recollection, is on view in a two-person show at Corey Helford in Los Angeles from November 2 to December 9, 2019. See more of Hirano’s ethereal paintings on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Stunning Shots Take Top Prizes in the 2019 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest

October 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Land of the eagle by Audun Rikardsen, Norway. Winner 2019, Behaviour: Birds. All images © their respective photographers, and shared courtesy of Natural History Museum, London

This week, London’s Natural History Museum announced the winners of its 55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcase. More than 48,000 amateur and professional photographers from 100 countries shared their best shots and a jury of nine experts selected the winners. Some of this year’s jurors included Kathy Moran, Senior Editor for Natural History at National Geographic Magazine; nature photographer Theo Bosboom; Melissa Dale, Acting Director of Photography at The Nature Conservancy; conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton; and writer and editor Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE, who chaired the committee.

The nineteen winners were selected across categories including animal behavior of mammals, birds, and invertebrates, along with animal portraits, plants and fungi, earth’s environment, and special categories for youth and emerging photographers. We’ve included 10 of our favorites here, including a golden eagle about to land by Audun Rikardsen, a life-or-death duel between a marmot and a fox by Yongqing Bao, and a hummingbird hawkmoth caught mid-sip by Thomas Easterbrook. To see more of the top finishers, check out our September coverage of this year’s finalists, and see the full show at the Natural History Museum in London now through May 31, 2020. Submissions for the 2020 competition open on October 21, 2019.

The architectural army by Daniel Kronauer, USA. Winner 2019, Behaviour: Invertebrates

The equal match by Ingo Arndt, Germany. Joint Winner 2019, Behaviour: Mammals

Tapestry of life by Zorica Kovacevic, Serbia/USA. Winner 2019, Plants and Fungi

Snow-plateau nomads by Shangzhen Fan China. Winner 2019, Animals in Their Environment

The moment by Yongqing Bao, China. Joint Winner 2019, Behaviour: Mammals

Early riser by Riccardo Marchgiani, Italy. Winner 2019, 15-17 years old

Face of deception by Ripan Biswas, India. Winner 2019, Animal Portraits

The huddle by Stefan Christmann, Germany. Winner 2019, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio Award

Humming surprise by Thomas Easterbrook, UK. Winner 2019, 10 years and under

 

 



Design Illustration

New Geometric Creatures from TRÜF Creative

October 15, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Charming new illustrations by TRÜF Creative (previously) combine a conservative color palette with wildly imaginative interpretations of animals. An ongoing passion project by the Santa Monica-based design studio, the series’s latest chapter is titled “Animals Strike Curious Poses,” (which is a reference to Prince, for fans who are wondering). The TRÜF team describes the project as “our minimalistic and strange interpretation of the animal kingdom that only exists in our heads.” If you’d like to make one of their geometric birds, whales, or fish your own, find prints in their online store.

 

 



Art Craft

Hand-Built Paper Birds by Niharika Rajput Draw Attention to Endangered Avians

October 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A detailed structural plan, hundreds of hand-fringed feathers, a custom-built wire armature: these are just some of the components artist Niharika Rajput uses to create her life-like paper birds. Rajput directly ties her art practice to conservation efforts by running campaigns to spread awareness of endangered species around the world.

To create her intricate sculptures, Rajput studies the anatomy of each bird, from its wing and tail structures to different types of feathers and facial features. The artist tells Colossal that she initially experimented with fiber and wire mesh, but found that paper best replicated the structure and texture of feathers. After creating a sketch of all the component body parts, Rajput begins the labor-intensive assembly process, which is complete once she has added finishing touches with acrylic paint.

The artist explains that she has had a lifelong affinity for wildlife and birds in particular, cemented by her family moving around a lot; nature was a steady presence even as Rajput’s built surroundings changed. As an adult, a visit to the Himalayas reconnected the artist to her passion for birds.

“As an artist I find it almost impossible to compete with nature’s sophisticated mechanisms and designs,” Rajput shares with Colossal. “I have taken this project on, to reach that level of perfection which can be applauded with a great sense of wonder by my audience and also acts as a reminder of what’s out there and needs to be protected.”

See more of Rajput’s sculptures on Instagram and Twitter. Original works are also available for purchase on Etsy. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Amazing Science

A Dreaming Octopus’s Imagination is Revealed in Her Color-Changing Slumber

September 26, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A recent documentary from PBS includes a fascinating clip of an octopus changing colors while sleeping. The marine biologist involved in Octopus: Making Contact thinks that the sea creature was dreaming about hunting, which sparked the color shift to a camouflaged shade. Dr. David Scheel describes his theory in the documentary:

So here she’s asleep, she sees a crab and her color starts to change a little bit. Then she turns all dark. Octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom. This is a camouflage, like she’s just subdued a crab and now she’s going to sit there and eat it and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her. …This really is fascinating. But yeah, if she’s dreaming that’s the dream.

If you’re wondering how it was possible to document this occurrence, the octopus in question is being kept in captivity and closely studied by Dr. Scheel, an Alaska-based professor.  Stay tuned for the full documentary, which premieres October 2, 2019, on PBS. (via the sleeping octopus’s enthusiastic cousin, Laughing Squid)

 

 



Amazing Photography

Stop and Smell the Flowers: Dick van Duijn Captured a Squirrel’s Floral Delight

September 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Dick van Duijn, shared with permission of the artist

This summer, while traveling in Vienna, Dutch photographer Dick van Duijn captured an indelible moment of natural connection between a ground squirrel and a yellow flower. The photographer was in Vienna specifically to document ground squirrels. In an interview with PetaPixel van Duijn explained, “On the first day we observed them and their behavior. On the second day, we photographed them the whole day. In the evening just before sunset, when the light became soft and nice, one of the many ground squirrels walked towards the yellow flower and began to hold it and sniff it.” You can purchase prints of this and other flower-enamored squirrel’s in van Duijn’s online store, and see more of his work and travels on Instagram. (via PetaPixel)