animals

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Illustration

Bold Animal Portraits Emerge from Ornamental Backdrops in YoAz's Digital Illustrations

February 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © YoAz, shared with permission

In YoAz’s Ornamental Animals, vibrant portraits of lions, gorillas, and other large mammals pop out of an expanse of decorative flourishes. The new series utilizes an ornate motif that’s consistent throughout each piece, with the faces of each creature delineated by saturated tones that contrast the otherwise pastel backdrop. The Paris-based illustrator and graphic designer shares that for the digital portraits, he focuses on three colors that vary in shade, using one to outline the face, a brighter hue to add density and movement, and another to intensify the animal’s individual characteristics.

Prints of YoAz’s illustrations are available from Society6, and you can find an extensive collection of his work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Delightful Nighttime Landscapes Nestle into Stacked Wooden Boxes in Allison May Kiphuth's Dioramas

February 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Allison May Kiphuth, shared with permission

Allison May Kiphuth (previously) shrinks the expansive landscapes found throughout the eastern United States into picturesque dioramas brimming with natural life. Through layered watercolor and ink renderings, the Maine-based artist creates a mix of quiet forest scenes and ocean habitats often under a dark, nighttime sky. She then stacks the outfitted wooden boxes, blending the marine and land-based pieces in varying positions that create new ecosystems with every combination.

Although Kiphuth derives much of her subject matter from the area around her home, she shares that experiencing new scenes is essential to her practice. “I haven’t been outside of Maine in over a year, and while this landscape is usually so expansively beautiful to me, without the contrast of other landscapes for perspective, it’s been feeling incredibly small,” a feeling that’s amplified by her living and working from a tiny home that’s just 8 x 20 feet.

The artist will have work at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia in May and has a solo show slated for August at Antler Gallery in Portland. Limited edition prints of the piece above are available from Nahcotta. Get a glimpse into Kiphuth’s process and views of the scenery she references in her works on Instagram.

 

“Bond,” watercolor, paper, and pins in antique box, 4 x 6 x 2 inches

“Defense,” watercolor, paper, and pins in antique box, 4.625 x 7 x 3.75 inches

Left: “Den” (2019), watercolor on layers of hand-cut paper, sealed with encaustic, 6 x 6.5 x .5 inches

“Nightlight 2,” Watercolor, paper, thread, and pins in antique box, 6.25 x 4.875 x 3.25 inches

“Observation” (2019), watercolor on layers of hand-cut paper, sealed with encaustic, 6 x 6 x .5 inches

“Defense” in progress

 

 



Art

Mysterious Marine Ecosystems Populate Rich Paintings by Robert Steven Connett

January 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Devouring Star Jelly.” All images © Robert Steven Connett, shared with permission probes the ocean depths for

Whether rendered as a snapshot of the ocean floor or a few drops of water under a microscope, the densely inhabited paintings by Robert Steven Connett (previously) are brimming with vitality. The Los Angeles-based artist probes the planet’s bodies of water, unveiling a range of flora and fauna that populate the mysterious and sometimes psychedelic ecosystems with exacting detail.

From jellyfish and seaweed to microbes, the organisms memorialize Earth’s dwindling biodiversity. The onslaught of news concerning the climate crisis informs how Connett understands the urgency of his works—they evoke Ernst Haeckel’s illustrations but diverge from the German biologist’s drawings in color palette and foreboding elements—which serve as both earnest studies of aquatic creatures and  “a tribute to life as it was before the great extinctions began.”

Even so, Connett shares that he focuses on the immense beauty and his curiosity about the natural world.  “I don’t want to sully the pictures I paint with death and ugliness,” he says. “I’m afraid the news of the real world will supply plenty of that.” He explains further:

In the shadow of a withering planet, I create worlds that are lush and thriving. I hope my work can encourage and uplift those who are disheartened by the climate crisis. However, creating a memory of a time when our world was stable is not enough. We all must do everything we can to lessen the causes of the crisis.

Original works, prints, and other products featuring Connett’s meticulous environments are available in his shop, and you can follow his latest projects on Instagram.

 

“Hydroza”

“Flower Mimic”

“Sea Fauna”

“Space Plankton”

“Space Plankton 2”

 

 

 



Illustration

The Blue Hour: Lyrical Illustrations Catalog a Menagerie of Specimens in Earth's Rarest Pigment

January 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Isabelle Simler, shared with permission

French illustrator and author Isabelle Simler deftly renders the liminal time surrounding dusk through a poetic exploration of Earth’s rarest color. The Blue Hour winds through the natural world on a journey to spot the pigment, from a bluejay resting on ice-coated branches to robin’s eggs to midnight skies and ocean depths. Simler focuses on “this time of day, when daytime animals enjoy the last moments before nighttime animals wake up. This in-between where the sounds and smells are denser and where the bluish light gives depth to the landscapes.”

Arranged like a color chart, Simler’s richly cross-hatched drawings display myriad nuances in time, species, and scenery of our ocean-blanketed planet. Because the pigment isn’t naturally occurring—plants, insects, and animals that appear blue are simply reflecting that portion of the spectrum rather than emitting it—the illustrations spotlight the uncommon specimens that populate the world with indigo, turquoise, and azure.

The Blue Hour is available on Bookshop along with a few of Simler’s other illustrated titles. Currently, she’s working on Topsy Turvy, a book that focuses on mimetic insects, which you can follow on her site and Instagram. (via Brain Pickings)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Duplicate Limbs and Unusual Mashups Revitalize Vintage Ceramic Creatures by Artist Debra Broz

January 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Paradigm Gallery

Simultaneously adorable and bizarre, Debra Broz’s porcelain creatures breathe new life into antique knick-knacks. The Los Angeles-based artist (previously) carefully gathers discarded figurines that she separates and reassembles into humorous and unusual sculptures: an entire flock of ducklings balances on just two feet, a hooved cat carries its equine baby, and tree branches sprout from a lounging ballerina.

Broz’s hybrid animals are included in Salvage, a group exhibition curated by Colossal’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Christopher Jobson at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia. Through the work of three artists and pieces from the Recycled Artist in Residency Program, Salvage examines how artists are revitalizing fragments of tradition and culture that were destined to be lost, relegated to the periphery, or buried forever. The show opens on January 22 with a live talk with Jobson, Broz, and artists Yurim Gough and André Schulze—tickets are available on Eventbrite—and runs through February 20. Take a virtual tour on Paradigm’s site.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

More Than 90 Artists Create Original Works on Vintage Envelopes for 'Couriers of Hope'

January 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

By Andrew Hem

What brings you hope? That’s the central question behind a new group exhibition presented by Port City Creative Guild. Couriers of Hope boasts more than 120 original pieces from more than 90 artists—the list includes Rosanne Kang Jovanovski, Andrew Hem (previously), Sean Chao (previously), and Yoskay Yamamoto—all rendered on vintage envelopes. Prompted by the mail art movement of the 1960s, the exhibition features an eclectic array of watercolor, pencil, and mixed-media illustrations that transform the miniature canvases into the artists’ vision for the future, whether through relaxed otters, peaches, or vivid portraits. Many of the works prominently display original postmarks and stamps and serve as a reminder that communication doesn’t have to be digital.

Students from Long Beach Unified School District have the opportunity to acquire one of the envelopes by trading their own response to the artists’ same prompt, with the guild providing art supplies for participants to ensure that everyone has access to the initiative. The show was curated collectively by a Long Beach Museum of Art, Creative Arts Coalition to Transform Urban Space, Flatline, Inspired LBC, The Icehouse x Ink and Drink Long Beach, Arts Council Long Beach, Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, Compound LBC, and the Creative Class Collective.

Couriers of Hope will be on display in the windows of the Psychic Temple of the Holy Kiss in downtown Long Beach and on the guild’s site for virtual viewing from January 19 to February 28, 2021.

 

By Sean Chao

By Megan Boterenbrood

By Adam Harrison

By Bodeck Luna

By Christine Yoon

By Hilary Norcliffe

By Judy Kepes

Left: By Jonathan Martinez. Right: By Kelly Yamagishi

By Narsiso Martinez

By Rosanne Kang Jovanovski

By Sean Chao