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Art

Stop-Motion Animation Shows a Bird’s POV of the Exotic Pet Industry

August 18, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Animator and director Evan DeRushie‘s recent short film “Birdlime” is about an exotic breed that escapes capture just to find itself injured and caged anyway. Birdlime features handcrafted and stop-motion animated human hands, tropical trees, other birds, and gibberish sounds in place of dialogue. The colorful kid-friendly film shows the versatility of the medium for fun, engaging, and artful storytelling.

Inspired by a trip to Thailand and his introduction to the exotic pet industry, DeRushie had the idea to the tell the story from the bird’s point of view. The characters are made from dyed and painted cushion foam. Working alone, the animator designed everything so that it would last long shoots with limited camera angles and edits.

“Thinking about the way that animals are represented in animation, and the effects in the real world (like how clown fish populations were decimated directly after Finding Nemo), I started seeing animation as a powerful and scary tool,” DeRushie said in a statement. “With this in mind, I tried to portray a respectful relationship between human and animal, and to treat the bird without too much anthropomorphism. I also wanted the film to feel like you were in the cage with the main character, and to be a bit confused by the world.”

DeRushie is the co-owner of the Toronto-based animation studio Stop Motion Department Inc.. Prior to “Birdlime” he animated and set-supervised 2015’s The Little Prince and was a part of the team that animated the short film “The Fox and the Chickadee,” which played in numerous festivals around the world. To see more of his work, click through to his official website.

Images via Short of the Week

 

 



Photography

Birds Hunt, Hide, and Blow Impressive Smoke Rings in a Selection of Images from the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards

July 25, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Red-winged Blackbird. Photo: Kathrin Swoboda/Audubon Photography Awards

The Audubon Photography Awards are celebrating their tenth year with an array of bird images that capture moments often missed by the human eye. In the contest’s grand prize winning photo, amateur photographer Kathrin Swoboda presents a red-winged blackbird emitting what appears to be perfect rings of smoke from its beak into the cold morning air. Another image by photographer Kevin Ebi catches an unbelievable rabbit theft in which a bald eagle struggles to steal dinner from an unsuspecting fox.

A new category revealed in this year’s contest is Plants for Birds, which honors Audubon’s Plants for Birds program. The category asked photographers to present unique depictions of birds alongside local plant life, as a way to addresses the importance of native plants to the survival of surrounding wildlife. This winner of the inaugural award was the San Diego-based photographer Michael Schulte who presented a hooded oriole gathering bits of palm fibers for a nest. You can see the rest of this year’s award winners on Audubon’s website.

Great Blue Herons. Photo: Melissa Rowell/Audubon Photography Awards

Bald Eagle and red fox. Photo: Kevin Ebi/Audubon Photography Awards

Horned Puffin (captive). Photo: Sebastian Velasquez/Audubon Photography Awards

Hooded Oriole on a California fan palm. Photo: Michael Schulte/Audubon Photography Awards

Greater Sage-Grouse. Photo: Elizabeth Boehm/Audubon Photography Awards

 

 



Photography Science

A Rainbow of Light Diffracts Through Hummingbird Wings in Photographs by Christian Spencer

July 18, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All images © Christian Spencer. Shared with permission from the artist.

Australian photographer Christian Spencer has lived within Brazil’s Itatiaia National Park for nineteen years. The lush natural surroundings offer a multitude of photo opportunities ranging from pumpkin toadlets to false coral snakes. One of Spencer’s most fascinating finds is the way that light diffracts through the wings of hummingbirds in flight, resulting in a rainbow of colors within the birds’ feathers. The photographer has been following the petite birds for years, and his film recording of the phenomenon was included in his award-winning 2011 short film, The Dance of Time.

More recently, Spencer has returned to these full spectrum moments. Each image in the artist’s hummingbird series captures sunlight filtering through the wings and tail of a black and white Jacobin hummingbird. Despite our age of post-production and photo manipulation, the images were not digitally manipulated; the visual phenomenon is naturally occurring.’WINGED PRISM’ (below) won a prize at the Museum of Modern Art in Resende RJ Brazil, and is available as a fine art print on Spencer’s website. You can follow along with Spencer’s animal encounters and nature-inspired paintings on Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

“WINGED PRISM”

 

 

 



Art

Human-Bird Hybrid Sculptures by Calvin Ma Interpret Social Experiences

July 2, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“This Is Me Today”, all images courtesy of Calvin Ma

Sculptor Calvin Ma channels his experience of social anxiety into imaginative ceramic sculptures that fuse human characters with birds. The avian elements act as suits of armor, protecting the person from the outside world, and reflect Ma’s personality in fight or flight situations. Carefully articulated feathers cover the surface of each sculpture, from the mask-like bird headdresses to the arms and torso of the humanoid figure. In previous bodies of work, the artist has used houses as his metaphor with walls, windows, and chimneys forming the protective outer shell of each sculpture.

“I never really felt comfortable in my own skin in social settings, so I created these characters to help tell stories about it,” Ma tells Colossal. “Each piece is meant to act out a specific social anxiety related experience. I try not to get too dark or serious with the work and really try to have fun with it.”

The Bay Area-based artist has a two-person show with Erika Sanada (who is also married to Ma) at Sherrie Gallerie in Columbus, Ohio from July 28 to September 3, 2019, and a solo exhibition at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon opening on November 28. Alongside these shows, Ma will also be sharing pieces in at SOFA Expo in Chicago and at Haven Gallery in Long Island, in late October and mid-December, respectively. You can explore more of the artist’s sculptures on Instagram.

“Butterflies”

“In The Clouds”

“One Of The Crowd”

“Flight”

“Caught Up”

“Bloom”

“Take The Leap”

“Forager”

 

 



Art

Thick Brushstrokes Form Plump Songbirds in Oil Paintings by Angela Moulton

June 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Chickadees, barn swallows, and goldcrest kinglets emerge from impasto oil paintings by Angela Moulton. The artist works in the aesthetic space between realistic and stylized, using natural tones that are slightly keyed up, and following the body and beak shapes of each bird while giving them just a bit of extra plumpness. Thick brush strokes form the birds’ bodies in just a couple of deft swipes. The artist, who splits her time between Illinois and Idaho, sells her work as Pratt Creek Art, and offers both originals and prints of her small-scale paintings. Moulton also shares videos of her process on YouTube.

 

 



Food Illustration

Feathered Latte Art Features Stylized Portraits of Sparrows, Parakeets, and Cockatiels

May 28, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Feathers, ferns, hearts: all normal fodder for a typical third wave coffee shop barista’s latte art portfolio. But one hobbyist barista and avian aficionado is leveling up with their bird-themed drawings. Using careful daubs of colored foam, Kunit92 creates stylized portraits of cockatiels, sparrows, and parrots in milky coffee beverages. The artist owns a bird named Sakura, a Bourke’s parrot, and also sometimes takes portrait requests from other (human) bird parents. The Japan-based latte artist shares their work on Instagram, and often includes a photo of the specific bird who inspired the caffeine-filled illustration.

 

 

 



Art

Murmuration: 10,000 Porcelain Birds Create a Calligraphic Landscape at the National Gallery of Victoria

May 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All images courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria

As part of a new large-scale exhibit at Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (previously) has created a swarm of 10,000 porcelain birds, titled Murmuration (Landscape). The multi-part winter exhibition at the museum combines Cai’s contemporary work with the display of a selection of China’s famed ancient terracotta warriors. Cai, who is best known for his enormous artworks that utilize fireworks, assembled the vast quantity of birds and smudged them black with gunpowder. The installation fills an entire gallery and the birds are suspended to create a 3D impression of a calligraphic drawing of Mount Li, where the tomb of the ancient warriors was located. Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang opens to the public today and is on view through October 13, 2019. Watch a time-lapse of the labor-intensive installation here and explore more of the artist’s diverse works on Instagram.

Photo: Tobias Titz