animals

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Illustration

Expressive Dogs Shake and Sniff in Kaleidoscopic Illustrations by Marina Okhromenko

March 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Marina Okhromenko

Swirling patches of fur and bespeckled eyes characterize the emotive dogs in Marina Okhromenko’s digital illustrations. Hoping to capture varying degrees of joy, devotion, and adoration, the Moscow-based illustrator depicts twelve dogs wearing different expressions, each distinguished through their eagerness and the intensity of their stares. One pup curiously pushes its nose through a pale blue gap, while another’s tongue hangs from its mouth as it pants.

In an interview with Adobe Create, Okhromenko talked about her lifelong love for experimenting with color combinations. “As a child, my favorite toy was a kaleidoscope—you take and mix different colored pieces, and the result is always beautiful. A similar aesthetic in my work is my unique voice,” she said.

Okhromenko is also the publisher of ORE Lab, a notebook design company. The expressive portraits were created as part of ORE’s project called arTTask, which connects art with productivity, an intersection that’s one of Okhromenko’s current obsessions.  “We are seeing this more and more as high-tech companies decorate their walls and surrounding spaces with interesting illustrations. In our environment, we call this neuro-office,” she said. “I’m interested in how to design a personal space to combine the simplicity of minimalism with the beauty of fireworks.” To keep up with the illustrator’s vibrant projects, head to Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Art Illustration

Floral-and-Frond Compositions Shape Energetic Wildlife by Raku Inoue

March 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Whale” (2020). All images © Raku Inoue

Known for his botanical arrangements of beetles, insects, and butterflies, Raku Inoue once again is bringing flora and fauna together. His previous work often positions the animals in stationary poses, resembling a portrait of an owl or a scorpion pinned inside a glass case as part of a collection. The latest pieces in his Natura Wildlife series, though, indicate a liveliness and inclination for movement, from a whale blasting orange flowers from its blowhole to a seahorse grasping a Q-tip.

In an Instagram post, the Montreal-based creative even said he modeled his pink-hued flamingo after Flamingo Bob, the Caribbean bird who was disabled after flying into a hotel window. The artist crafted multiple depictions of the animal as he stares, swims, and mingles with friends, in between his duties as an ambassador for the FDOC, a foundation dedicated to educating locals about wildlife protection. “I thought I would make these images honoring him and his future legacies,” Inoue wrote.

“Staring Bob” (2020)

“Jellyfish” (2020)

“Mingling Bob” (2020)

 

 



Art

A Hanging Mobile of Bronze Hand Sculptures Casts Playful Silhouettes of Animals

February 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Os Pássaros e o Lobo” (2017), bronze, steel cables, metal bars, and light projector, 200 x 200. Image © Casa Triângulo

A bronze piece by Brazilian artist Albano Afonso uses multiple sets of dangling hands that mimic shadow puppetry. Titled “Os Pássaros e o Lobo,” or “The Birds and the Wolf,” the sculpture is illuminated by a light projector, casting dark silhouettes on the wall behind it that resembles a mobile of active animals. In a statement, Afonso is described as being “interested in the anatomy of light: its intensity or softness, its ability to both illuminate and obscure, its sources, its symbolic and utilitarian uses, and its beauty.” You can follow his light-sensitive projects on Instagram.

 

 



Craft

Papier-Mâché Masks Crafted by Liz Sexton Bring Animals to Human Scale

February 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Liz Sexton, shared with permission

Rejecting anthropocentrism, Liz Sexton wants to break down the boundary between human and animal life. The Minneapolis-based artist creates large papier-mâché pieces of foxes, owls, and other wild animals designed to be worn by humans, creating a hybrid being that she often situates in non-natural environments, like a rat near the subway lines or a porcupine fish out of water.

Sexton began making her facial masks a few years ago after constructing a couple of Halloween costumes, although she’s worked with the versatile paper material for many years. Made of brown paper, paste, and paper pulp, each piece takes a couple of weeks, if not months, to create. The artist tells Colossal that her “hope is that the viewer gains not only awareness of the animal but a sense of kinship and empathy.”

I often work on species facing existential threats, such as marine life, though I suppose this uncertainty applies to most animals at this point. Photographing the animal heads worn out of their natural habitats, and in our immediate world, highlights the displacement that many creatures experience. I also enjoy working on animals that likely live very close to us but we don’t necessary see. Bringing them out into our human habitats, on a human scale, they become neighbors, commuters, a visible part of our community.

When not being worn, Sexton’s masks rest flat on the floor, appearing as a bust and adding to the reverential quality she hopes to inspire. For more of the artist’s animalistic projects—and to see the miniature rhinos, bears, and zebras she recently created for The New York Times Style Magazine⁠—head to Instagram.

 

 



Craft Illustration

Paper Quilling Process Shown Step-by-Step in New Video by Yulia Brodskaya

February 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Jaguar.” All images © Yulia Brodskaya

Known for her technique of “painting with paper,” Yulia Brodskaya (previously) has crafted a new piece titled “Jaguar,” a portrait blending human and cat features. In a recent video posted to her Facebook, the U.K.-based artist shares her creative process, starting with a sketched figure on a black board. Brodskaya then fills in small patches with neutral-toned paper, clipping them in place until she attaches the next piece. The artist even utilizes a tweezers to position some of the singular layers and shows her quilling technique up close as she bends strips of paper before wrapping the edge around the folds. For more of Brodskaya’s paper paintings, head to Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Found Wood Pieces Morph into Twisted Animal Portraits by Jonatan Maldonado

January 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jonatan Maldonado, shared with permission

Jonatan Maldonado, a Los Angeles-based artist and creative director, has a strong sense of pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon causing humans to see faces and meaning in inanimate objects. In Creatures of the Ancient Forest, Maldonado’s black and white photographs frame found branches and chunks of wood at just the right angle, allowing viewers to catch a glimpse of a squawking bird or a horned animal poking its head out of a tree.

The dark, twisted series is ongoing, and the artist tells Colossal he’ll soon be in Alabama Hills, California, searching for more pieces⁠. “The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in California is the home to the oldest trees in the world,” he says. “Being surrounded by their spectacular shapes feels truly magical, or maybe it’s the lack of oxygen when hiking at 10,000 feet.” Follow Maldonado on Instagram to see what he spots next.

 

 



History Illustration Science

150,000 Botanical and Animal Illustrations Available for Free Download from Biodiversity Heritage Library

January 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

Billed as the world’s largest open access digital archive dedicated to life on Earth, the Biodiversity Heritage Library is comprised of animal sketches, historical diagrams, botanical studies, and various scientific research collected from hundreds of thousands of journals and libraries around the globe. In an effort to share information and promote collaboration to combat the ongoing climate crisis, the site boasts a collection of more than 55 million pages of literature, some of which dates back to the 15th century. At least 150,000 illustrations are available for free download in high-resolution files.

Among the collections is a digital copy of Joseph Wolf’s The Zoological Sketches, two volumes containing about 100 lithographs depicting wild animals housed in London’s Regent’s Park. Wolf originally sketched and painted the vignettes in the mid-19th century. Other diverse works range from a watercolor project detailing flowers indigenous to the Hawaiian islands, to a guide for do-it-yourself taxidermy replete with illustrated instructions published in 1833.

The library also offers a variety of tools, including search features to find species by taxonomy and another option to monitor online conversations related to books and articles in the archive. Consistently adding collections to the public domain, the organization currently is working on a project to promote awareness of the field notes available from the Smithsonian Institution Archives, the Smithsonian Libraries, and the National Museum of Natural History.

For those who don’t want to dig through pages of archives, head to Flickr and Instagram for a more streamlined visual experience. (via This Isn’t Happiness)