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Photography

An Opportunistic Red-Winged Blackbird Catches a Ride on an Osprey's Stick

May 18, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image © Jocelyn Anderson, shared with permission

A red-winged blackbird keen on protecting its chicks was recently caught escorting an osprey away from its nest. Rather than hover around the predator as the species is wont to do, though—it’s known for being aggressive and territorial and is likely to attack larger animals and humans for getting too close to its young—the smaller creature hitched a ride with the raptor by perching on a stick it carried in its talons.

Photographer Joceyln Anderson shot the strange encounter, which began with the blackbird circling the osprey as it flew above a pond. As the two called to and wove around each other, they moved closer to Anderson, who was then able to capture their brief interaction. “It looked behind itself several times as the blackbird followed close behind before it landed on the stick,” she says. “I was surprised at how long the blackbird followed the osprey. Maybe it enjoyed getting a free ride on the stick!”

Based in Michigan, Anderson is an avid wildlife photographer and sells prints on her site. See a larger collection of her avian subjects on Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Art

Flora and Fauna Intertwine in Delicate Mixed-Media Artworks by Teagan White

April 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Oasis,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 20 inches x 20 inches. All images courtesy of Nucleus Portland, shared with permission

Sinuous branches half-submerged in water, fish swimming through the treetops, and plant life spearing small birds compose the intricate entanglements rendered by Teagan White. Through gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil, the artist merges plant and animal life in delicate scenes that focus on the interconnectedness and beauty of the natural world.

Having just moved to the Pacific Northwest, much of White’s work draws on their years spent biking throughout the Midwest and viscerally experiencing life and death on the region’s roadways. The artist describes their recent series, Things As They Are & As They Could Be, which includes many of the mixed-media pieces shown here, as “meditations on peril and possibility; what has been lost and what remains; dystopian presents and improbable futures.” It’s on view now through May 3 at Nucleus Portland.

Find glimpses into White’s process and see works-in-progress on Instagram, and pick up prints, stickers, and other goods in their shop.(via Supersonic Art)

 

“Citadel,” watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil on paper, 20 x 20 inches

“Yield,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 11 x 14 inches

“Waver,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 8 x 10 inches

“Wander,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 8 x 10 inches

“Territory,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 18 x 24 inches

 

 



Animation

An Anxious Bird Braves His Fear of Flying in a Charming Animated Short

April 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Dougal is a nervous little bird with an overwhelming dread for an activity he’s supposed to instinctively enjoy: he’s afraid to fly. A charming short film written and directed by Conor Finnegan follows Dougal as he hunkers down in the north for the winter. Throughout his journey, the anxious creature faces a multitude of obstacles, from a blustery trudge through a snowstorm to the threat of a thieving squirrel, before finally deciding to join his friends down south.

Seamlessly combining live-action puppetry and stop-motion techniques, “Fear of Flying” is a collaborative project—Finnegan details the entire process in an interview with Short of the Week—that involved Fallover Bros and Renate Henschke crafting the flock of wide-eyed avians and a larger team of 14 or 15 creatives aiding in production.

Watch more of Finnegan’s light-hearted animations, which include one detailing an unusual friendship between Rock, Paper, and Scissors and another about a dutiful character named Fluffy McCloud, on his agency’s site.

 

 

 



Photography

Shots of Snuggling Swans and Ravenous Shags Best the 2021 Bird Photographer of the Year Contest

April 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image © Brian Matthews, European shag. All images © Bird Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

This year’s Bird Photographer of the Year contest (previously) highlights a variety of avian adventures from a mallard duckling chasing a fly and an impatient shag to a hamerkop ruthlessly tossing a toad in the air. Now in its sixth year, the annual competition released a selection of finalists this week from more than 22,000 entries spanning 73 countries that capture a range of playful, intimate, and sometimes merciless moments. 2021’s winners will be announced in September. See some of Colossal’s favorite shots below, and pre-order the book compiling more than 200 photographs on the contest’s site.

 

Image © Andy Parkinson, mute swan

Image © Daniel Zhang, hamerkop

Image © Mark Williams, Eurasian nuthatch

Image © Gábor Li, shags

Image © James Wilcox, American Oystercatcher

Image © Zdeněk Jakl, mallard duck

Image © Li Ying Lou, red-crowned crane

Image © David White, swallow

 

 



Illustration Photography

Meticulous Digital Works Layer Petals, Leaves, and Natural Textures into Fantastic Creatures

March 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “Kulu.” All images © Josh Dykgaaf, shared with permission

Melbourne-based artist Josh Dykgraaf has a discerning eye for matching two seemingly disparate elements. In his ongoing Terraforms series, autumn leaves become feathers, magnolia petals wind into scales, and plumes form fins that swish through water. Each illustration merges flora and fauna into an entirely new fantastical creature, and a single piece can take days to complete, with the pair of Tawny Frogmouths, for example, clocking in at 55 hours and more than 3,000 layers.

“My process for how I pair natural textures with animals is usually a bit like cloud gazing—like as a kid, did you ever stare up out the clouds and make out different forms and shapes among them?” Dykgraaf says, noting that he takes all of his own photographs of the source materials on hikes or walks around his neighborhood. Once he returns to his studio, he painstakingly collages the extraordinary creatures, coating a closed beak in bark or an echidna in regrown brush following the East Gippsland fires.

In the coming months, Dykgraaf is shifting to a portrait series focused on Indigenous people around the world. His digital works will be included in The Other Art Fair in Sydney from March 18 to 21 and the virtual edition, which runs March 23 to 28. Until then, see a larger collection of the intricately constructed creatures on Behance and Instagram, and pick up a print from his shop. (via designboom)

 

Detail of “Tawu Tawu”

Detail of “Burooli”

“Bunyjul”

Detail of “Kulu”

Left: “Burooli.” Right: “Thaumus”

“Kulu”

“Tawu Tawu”

“Tjirilya”

 

 



Art

A Flurry of Feathers and Leaves Surround Spirited Birds in Fio Silva's Vivid Murals

March 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

Castelar, Buenos Aires. All images @ Fio Silva, shared with permission

Fio Silva tucks clusters of oversized birds and botanicals into otherwise stark urban spaces, creating striking murals awash in puffs of feathers, petals, and leaves. The Buenos Aires-based artist focuses largely on movement, a thread that runs through both the vivid renderings of winged subjects as they appear to take flight or perch for just a moment. “It was that lack of stillness through work and searching for walls to paint that I found meaning in my time,” Silva tells Colossal.

When working in color, the artist starts with blues, yellows, and reds before expanding the palette based on the “moods and to intensify, in some way, what I want to convey, if it is something rather clear, bright, or something… more subdued or desolate,” Silva says. “When I paint, I try to convey a certain force, that by seeing it or sharing it I can move someone, in whatever way.”

Silva plans to complete a few murals in Argentina during the next few months and will travel to Europe during the summer, with an exhibition of smaller paintings slated for October in Paris. Keep up with the artist’s monumental public works on Instagram.

 

Olivos, Buenos Aires

General Roca, Rio Negro

Olivos, Buenos Aires

Left: Berlin, Germany. Right: Belsh, Albania

General Roca, Rio Negro

Patos, Albania

Patos, Albania