Clever Illustrations by Nash Weerasekera Highlight Ironies and Anxieties of Everyday Life
Influenced by what he describes as a “healthy level of cynicism,” Melbourne-based artist Nash Weerasekera taps into the subtle ironies of everyday life. His digital illustrations often center on seemingly paradoxical circumstances like a figure meditating on top of an overturned car or a young girl in a bathing suit seated on an ice floe. Largely focused on the nature of work, social interactions, and domestic responsibilities, his humorous scenes visualize endless to-do lists, running out of time, or a satirical take on a favorite phrase of optimists everywhere: every cloud has a silver lining.
Weerasekera shares that he “thinks” better on paper, so every piece begins with a physical sketch. His illustration practice stems from a background in street art in his home country of Sri Lanka that blossomed into acrylic painting when he moved to Australia. During pandemic lockdowns when it was a challenge to gather materials, he began to experiment with digital techniques and increasingly collaborates with commercial clients.
Weerasekera is currently illustrating a children’s book, and you can find more of his work on Instagram.
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A Prismatic Installation of LED Lights Mimics a Chameleon’s Color-Changing Scales
Hundreds of individual cells shaped like bursting stars comprise a new kaleidoscopic installation by the creative studio SOSO. A project for a San Diego real estate company, “Chameleon Wall” imitates the small reptile by changing color in a dynamic dance of pigment and light. As seen in the video below, the LED-illuminated work seamlessly shifts from gold to teal to bright pink in an array of organic patterns. SOSO shares that “Chameleon Wall” also has an interactive component and is capable of interpreting SMS messages from viewers and crafting a pixelated field of color related to the prompt.
For more of the studio’s digital projects, visit its site.
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Animation Art Science
‘aBiogenesis’ Reimagines the Primordial Soup Theory in a Mesmerizing Animation by Markos Kay
In an ethereal animation by London-based CGI artist Markos Kay, a mysterious world is in the process of forming. “aBiogenesis” reimagines the origin of life in a mesmerizing rendering of the lipid world hypothesis—a theory suggesting that the first self-replicating, cell-like objects were composed of a kind of fatty acid that could not dissolve in water. The hypothesis postulates that lipids may have formed into generative bilayers in the oceans. “These bilayers would have acted like tiny bubbles or bags, enclosing and protecting the chemical reactions that would eventually give rise to life,” he says.
Kay has focused on the intersection of art and science in his practice, utilizing digital tools to visualize biological or primordial phenomena. “aBiogenesis” focuses a microscopic lens on imagined protocells, vesicles, and primordial foam that twists and oscillates in various forms.
The artist has prints available for sale in his shop, and you can find more work on his website and Behance.
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History Illustration Science
Six Centuries, 700 Scientists, 300 Groundbreaking Milestones: A New Book Examines the Invaluable History of Science Illustrations
From medicine and biology to chemistry and astronomy, a massive new book published by Taschen chronicles the unparalleled contributions of illustrations to scientific study. Compiling more than 300 distinct charts, renderings, and graphs within its 436 pages, the volume opens with early developments like Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation and Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentrism, which positioned the sun at the center of the solar system. It then travels throughout the following six centuries, capturing everything from the use of anesthesia and zoological studies to current-day renderings of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. In addition to the illustrations themselves, the book also details how such visuals continue to impact both the theories and principles that are the foundation for scientific discovery and the general public’s conceptions of how the world works.
Science Illustration. A History of Visual Knowledge from the 15th Century to Today is available now from Taschen and Bookshop.
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Colorful Digital Illustrations by Calvin Sprague Balance Order and Chaos
A patchwork of geometric shapes and clean, black lines comprise the bold, dynamic illustrations of Rotterdam-based artist Calvin Sprague (previously). Digitally rendered in retro color palettes, animals, foliage, and facial features layer into compositions dense with abstract details. Monochromatic backdrops tend to frame a central figure or scenario, which sometimes camouflage additional figures and elements within their structural forms.
Prints, t-shirts, and other goods featuring Sprague’s works are available in his shop, and you can dive into an archive of his illustrations on Behance and Instagram.
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Art History Photography
In Craig Walsh’s ‘Monuments,’ Enormous Projected Portraits Illuminate the Selective Histories of Public Art
In the mid-nineties, Australian artist Craig Walsh created his first projection at Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland. Made with photographic slides, the massive installation temporarily transformed a tree into a large-scale portrait, enlivening the canopy and initiating what’s become a 30-year project.
Now encompassed within the artist’s Monuments series, the digital works continue to animate landscapes and public spaces around the globe, and they’ve evolved in breadth and scope, sometimes incorporating live video and sound that allows viewers to interact with the illuminated characters. Blinking, yawning, and displaying various facial expressions, the emotive figures address both connections between people and their surroundings and conversations around whose stories are upheld and disseminated. “The work in the early days conceptually linked more to how the environment we exist in influences the human condition,” Walsh tells Colossal. “Surveillance was another interpretation.”
Today, the responsive installations more directly address traditional narratives and challenge “the selective history represented in our public spaces,” he says. Many of the Monuments celebrate people who significantly impacted their communities, and yet, might be overlooked. His 2017 piece, “Churaki Hill,” for example, pays homage to Churaki, an Aboriginal man who was responsible for many successful water rescues in the Tweed region in the early 1900s.
Similarly, Walsh’s recent installation in Charlotte, North Carolina, honors the descendants of Mecklenburg County’s Black residents. Created for the annual Charlotte SHOUT! festival, the trio of works occupies Old Settlers’ Cemetery, the burial ground for the city’s wealthy residents throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. He shares about the project:
Much like today, Charlotte was a diverse city in its founding century…By 1790, the census for Mecklenburg County lists a total population of 1,608 enslaved African Americans or 14 percent of the town’s population. By 1850, enslaved African Americans accounted for 44 percent of the total population inside the city limits. While their graves are not marked, the north quadrant next to Church Street is the final resting place for the formerly enslaved members of Charlotte’s first one hundred years.
On display earlier this year, the installation features folk artist Nellie Ashford, filmmaker and counselor Frederick Murphy, and DJ and musician Fannie Mae. Honoring the deep family ties and legacies these three hold within the city, the portraits memorialize their continued contributions to local culture.
Walsh is currently based in Tweed Heads, New South Wales, and his latest project is on view at Victor Harbor, South Australia, through September 11. Explore more of the Monuments series on the project’s site and Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Animation
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