South Florida-based artist Amy Gross creates hand-embroidered and beaded fiber sculptures that contain colorful nods to the natural world. Bees dot the surface of a work formed from leaves, honeycomb, and moss, while other works contain kaleidoscopic arrays of birds, mushrooms, and other fungi. Although the sculptures reflect a natural symbiosis, their structures are fictionalized in both their color and composition. None of the elements of her pieces are found objects, but rather each handmade from craft store supplies and objects like yarn, beads, wire, and paper.
“Making objects is my way of turning thought into something solid and real, and in a way, slowing time,” Gross tells Colossal. “I never use anything in my work that was ever alive, I collaborate solely with manufactured materials. They mimic living things but will not wither or die. It’s a very human desire to slow or control disintegration, to try to have a say in a volatile, uncontrollable world of change.”
Gross is included in a group exhibition titled Small Works, Big Impact which opens on November 15, 2018 at Momentum Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. You can see more of her nature-inspired assemblages on her website.
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Spanish photographer Xavi Bou (previously) tracks and records the flight patterns of birds, combining their repetitive movements into elongated shapes that twist through the sky for his series Ornitographies. The images are inspired by chronophotography, a Victorian era photography method that combined multiple images to create movement, and edited digitally in Photoshop. The layered images appear like floating double helixes or fringed ribbon depending on the size and wingspan of each bird, and create elegant gestures as they criss-cross against the blue sky.
Recently Bou traveled to Iceland where he captured new species of birds set against a dramatically different landscape than his previous images. “Iceland was especially interesting because I was looking for the contrast between the size and heaviness of the volcanic rocks, in contrast between the tiny patterns that marine birds create in the sky,” he tells Colossal. Bou has also recently visited Barcelona to watch pigeons race across the city, and Tarifa, Spain to experience thousands of birds from all over Europe cross the sea towards Africa. You can see more of his multi-shot avian images on his website and Instagram.
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Italian graffiti artist Eron (previously) creates poignant spray painted interventions which speak to humanitarian and social issues. Recently he created a stunning piece titled Tower to the People in Santarcangelo, Italy which converted a simple brick tower into a monumental painting celebrating the power of non-violence. The work features a raised fist that is constructed from a mass of lush roses painted in a classical chiaroscuro technique. The contrast between the fragility of the flowers and the power of the symbol they create speaks to the combined strength of individuals when united for a common cause.
Similar to his previous creations, the artist used spray paint to create an illusion of depth. The work appears almost sculptural, as if the fist was erected with the tower itself, rather than added on as a painted detail. Columns flank either side of the fist, each with hearts near the top and bottom corners. A press release about Tower to the People explains that the work is a tribute to “the strength of gentleness, the power of non-violence, the victory of kindness, the triumph of love over hate, the intensity of poetry, the perfection of harmony, and the desire for freedom and peace among the people all over the world.”
In 2015 Eron was included in the landmark exhibition Bridges Of Graffiti during 2015 Venice Biennale, and earlier this year he painted one of his largest street art interventions to date in Milan. In addition to the public works, Eron has also been creating smaller pieces that revive found objects through his application of ghostly imagery. At the same time, the artist is producing studio works on canvas which cleverly mix realistic and surreal imagery, creating captivating images that strongly rely on both light and shadow effects. You see more of his public and studio-based works on his website and Instagram.
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Artist Adele Renault (previously) paints realistic portraits of the common pigeon, often highlighting real examples of pigeons whose stories are anything but ordinary. This year she painted a mural of “Baby Girl,” a New Jersey pigeon who won a 366 mile race 19 minutes ahead of the other feathered contestants. A few years ago she dedicated a series of smaller paintings to “Camp,” a pigeon adopted by a Chicago couple after finding his egg left on their kitchen table.
By focusing on these inspiring stories, Renault highlights the often overlooked bird as a magnificent creature rather than an urban nuisance. Her brightly hued public murals and paintings on canvas bring purples and blues into the bird’s feathers, and accentuate the iridescent tones one might not notice at first glance. Recently she published a book combining her avian works titled Feathers and Faces. You can view more of her large-scale paintings on her website and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)
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India-based cut paper artists Nayan Shrimali and Vaishali Chudasama have set out to construct 365 miniature bird species by the end of 2018. To form each work, the pair begins by cutting feathers, beaks, and talons from layers of paper and then using watercolor to produce further detail. Despite the works’ small size (some of the tiniest pieces measuring only 3/4 of an inch from head to tail), each bird takes four to six hours to finish depending on the extent of the bird’s colorful plumage. You can stay updated with the artists’ miniature project on Instagram, and buy tiny avian artworks by the duo on their Etsy Shop.
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Minnesota-based wildlife photographer Brent Cizek was headed back to shore before a summer storm when he spotted the common merganser he would later nickname “Momma Merganser.” At first the mother duck was being followed by a brood of more than 50 fluffy ducklings, however when spotted the group again, the total had grown to 76.
“I happened to find this group of mergansers purely by luck, but I was absolutely amazed by what I saw,” Cizek tells Colossal. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the species, so I wasn’t sure if what I witnessed was a common occurrence or something out of the ordinary. All I knew was that I had never seen anything like that before.”
The scene is extraordinary indeed. Although the aquatic birds are known to lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks, a female duck can only incubate 20 at any given time explains Kenn Kaufman, field editor for Audubon. It is most likely that several dozen of the ducklings lost their mothers and were adopted into Momma Merganser’s own brood.
Cizek plans to continue following the extra large family, and posts his findings to on Instagram. To learn more about merganser habits, read the National Audubon Society’s piece on the surprising spectacle. (via Laughing Squid)
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The most basic instrument in the hands of a master can produce awe-inspiring results. For Yorkshire-based artist and printmaker Pippa Dyrlaga (previously), that instrument is a common blade handle equipped with fine point blades. The resulting works of art are incredibly detailed paper cuts of plants, animals, and abstract designs with hand-replicated patterns and variations in line width that give them dimensionality and bring the flat images to life.
Pippa only began paper cutting in 2010, a year before completing her Masters degree in Art and Design and Curation at Leeds Metropolitan University. On finding inspiration and imagery that would work well for her style and craft, Pippa tells Colossal that ideas tend to flow from her surroundings and from other projects. “Most of the time one piece will lead to another, but I sometimes get an idea that I just want to try out, something I have been thinking of for a while. I have always lived in quite inspiring and green places, filled with local wildlife and flora, and much of my inspiration stems from being outside and enjoying it, and feeling like a part of it.”
While all of her pieces are meticulous, Pippa says that apart from a basic layout sketch, not a lot goes into the planning phase. “I prefer the pieces where I work on the design as I am cutting them out! I will have a detail or a general idea of what I want it to look like in my head, and I will create the full image whilst I am working on it, in smaller sections, so it develops quite organically.” For larger pieces that do require some planning, she will sometimes make smaller versions first to see how the details will work. “I quite like not knowing what it will look like until its finished,” she tells Colossal.
As for how those details are achieved, Pippa assured us that the blades and handle are the main weapons in her arsenal. “Papercutting doesn’t require anything fancy,” she said. “The tools are as simple as the medium. The rest is practice!” She does, however, have personal preferences when it comes to the paper she cuts (good quality, acid-free, and from sustainable sources), and there are a few measures taken to ensure that the works stay flat, dry, and away from the harsh sun. “Paper cuts are surprisingly strong,” Pippa said, “but they can’t take much damage so they do have to be handled and stored safely, just like any paper.”
To see more of Pippa Dyrlaga’s work, follow her on Instagram.
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