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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

 

 



Photography

Bruce the Eagle Gets his 15 Minutes of Fame in a Symmetrical Glamour Shot by Photographer Steve Biro

May 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

An eagle named Bruce, resident at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy in Ontario, recently took a dive over open water at the conservancy. Amateur photographer Steve Biro happened to be there at just the right moment, with camera in hand. Bruce’s arced wings reflected in the water below form a an almost perfect oval, and the bird’s bright yellow beak and piercing gaze are directed squarely at the camera. Bald eagles can have a wingspan ranging from six to seven and half feet.

“I snapped a couple images from the side and decided I wanted to get a vantage point where I might be able to shoot him more straight on,” Biro explains to Colossal. “There was a large rock right at the water’s edge were I laid down beside and rested my upper body on trying to get as low as possible.” Biro notes that Bruce was flying close enough to him that he could feel the draft from the bird’s wings, so he was able to a macro lens to capture the moment.  Follow along with Biro’s nature explorations on Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Art

Twisted and Layered Balloons Form Eye-Popping Animal Sculptures by Masayoshi Matsumoto

May 20, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Master balloon artist Masayoshi Matsumoto (previously) continues to amaze with his incredibly intricate animal creations. Using only balloons—the artist abstains from using any additional materials like markers or adhesives—Matsumoto shapes his raw materials to mimic the unique limbs, spikes, and wattles of a wide range of animals. The graceful silhouettes of birds and insects with their textural exoskeletons frequently appear in the artist’s body of work, but he also tackles flora including pitcher plants and cacti, and other creatures from mammals to maggots. Discover more of Matsumoto’s inflatable menagerie on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 



Art Design

An Enormous Stylized Bird Sculpture Sprawls Atop a Mountain in India

April 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A massive sculpture of a legendary bird has taken shape at Jatayu Earth’s Center in Kerala, India. Based on the epic story of Ramayana, Jatayu is a noble bird of divine origin who lost his wing and fell while fighting to protect a young woman named Sitha. The bird as recreated in concrete at the  Center is 200 feet long, 150 feet wide, and 70 feet tall, with stylized feathers and enormous curled claws. Its prone body is sprawled on a mountaintop with a 65 acre tourist destination campus.

Jatayu Earth’s Center is a collaboration between the Tourism Department of Kerala and renowned film director Rajiv Anchal and focuses on environmental sustainability in its design. The Center includes systems of rainwater irrigation, solar powered electricity, and planned organic farms. Learn more about visiting on the Jatayu Earth’s Center website. (via Design You Trust)

 

 

 



Art

Follow Nectar-Hungry Birds as They Soar Through New Automated Flip Books by Juan Fontanive

March 26, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Juan Fontanive (previously) constructs ornithology-oriented flip books which constantly loop with the help of a few hand-built mechanics. The still images are sourced from 18th and 19th-century natural history illustrations, and when combined imitate the motion of a bird in flight. Although these works were completed this year, Fontanive has been working on the series since 2004 while he was studying at the Royal College of Art. Previous animation explorations have featured butterflies and birds drawn with graphite and colored pencil. You can see more of his automated sculptures on his website and Vimeo.

 

 



Art Illustration

Loneliness and Belonging Explored in a New Children’s Book of Poetry and Mixed-Media Illustrations

March 16, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Images courtesy of Enchanted Lion

Author JonArno Lawson and artist Nahid Kazemi recently collaborated to tell a largely visual story about a young bird contemplating its own existence and trying to find its place in the world after losing its flock. Titled Over the Rooftops, Under the Moon and published by Brooklyn-based Enchanted Lion Books, the children’s book features poetic writing by Lawson which provides the framework for its complex themes. Kazemi’s colorful illustrations—a mix of pencil, colored pencil, chalk pastel, and collage—pull young readers into the colorful and curious world.

After studying painting at Art University in Tehran, Kazemi worked as a graphic designer for literary magazines, published children’s books in Iran, and participated in illustration festivals around the world. Kazemi tells Colossal that the collaboration with JonArno Lawson happened by chance, shortly after a move and career restart in Canada.

While looking through books at a library for publishers and authors, the artist came across one called Sidewalk Flowers. “It made me hopeful that publishers in North America were interested in publishing wordless books,” she said. “I searched for JonArno’s other books in the library and felt that his work was close to my own style. I found him through social media – he really liked my work as well, and after a short while, we started to think together about this project.”

The new book is available now on Amazon. To see more of Kazemi’s mixed media illustrations, follow her on Instagram. (via Brain Pickings)

 

 



Craft

Balloon Birds by Terry Cook Mimic Their Real-Life Counterparts

March 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Passing up the typical party tricks of dogs, flowers, and hats, Terry Cook riffs on classic balloon-twisting shapes with his avian creations. After modeling herons, blue tits, mallards, and other European birds, Cook completes the picture by staging and photographing each animal in its natural setting. The artist makes a point of explaining on his website that he carefully removes and deflates all balloons after his photo shoots as to not leave latex debris in the natural world. In addition to his balloon birds, Cook also works with watercolor, acrylic, ink, and even robotics. You can see more of the Aberdeen, Scotland-based artist’s in-progress and finished projects on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)