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Art

Nimble Pugs and Other Cheery Canines Are Chiseled into Stocky Wooden Sculptures by Misato Sano

May 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Misato Sano, shared with permission

Studies show that people are inclined to adopt canine companions that resemble themselves or family members, a psychological impulse that Misato Sano (previously) flips on its head. Rather than carve a pack of doggy doubles, the artist creates textured wooden sculptures of curly-haired poodles and acrobatic pugs imbued with different aspects of her own personality. Encompassing multiple breeds, expressions, and physical traits, each work is a self-portrait. She explains to Colossal:

For me, using the form of dogs is the most appropriate, highest-resolution method to materialize what I think of my inner self. Materializing myself in various states is about having an honest, direct dialogue with myself. In facing myself, I would like to be passionate, free, and loving, like a dog. My works are also about myself looking at myself. In that sense, I might have been making an existence that is sometimes beside myself, a little distance in other times, watching over myself.

Sano is based in the Tohoku region of the Miyagi prefecture and spends her summers creating the lively creatures with fur chiseled in visible gouges. As the weather turns cold, she shifts her practice to embroidery and conveys the adorable faces in plush tufts of thread.

You can see Sano’s carved characters as part of a group exhibition running August 14 to 29 at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California. Otherwise, check out her Instagram for glimpses into her process and to see some of the real-life pups that inspire her works.

 

 

 



Art

Pockets of Landscapes and Still Lifes Adorn Subjects in Lavish Portraits by Aniela Sobieski

February 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

Oil on panel, 8 x 10 inches. All images © Aniela Sobieski, shared with permission

Aniela Sobieski is intrigued by “the human impulse to self-decorate,” a fascination that permeates every aspect of her portraiture. Evoking both baroque paintings and contemporary fashions, Sobieski adorns women and the occasional dog with elaborate makeup and sculptural accessories placed conspicuously to mask the subject’s features. She seamlessly maps classic still lifes and sparse landscapes directly onto the sitter’s face, often highlighting the natural shape of the eye and coating the figure’s lips in bold red.

Apparent within Sobieski’s oil paintings is a symbiotic relationship between the subject and their lavish accessories: while a pair of daisies or bucolic scene serve as expressions of identity and emotion, the subject “provides them with an environment,” the artist writes. “It is my hope that these relationships speak to the tendency for nature and the human psyche to mirror each other.”

Sobieski, who is based in St. Paul, has a solo show at Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee that’s slated for this October. Until then, follow her poetic artworks on Instagram, and pick up a print from Etsy. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Bird Eyes,” oil on panel, 6 x 6 inches

“Daisy Eyes,” oil on linen, 8 x 10 inches

 

 



Photography

A New Volume Compiles Five Decades of the Pudgy, Curious, and Drowsy Pups in Walter Chandoha's Photographs

September 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

Mixed-breed and the photographer’s daughter Maria, Long Island, New York, 1956. All images © Estate of Walter Chandoha, courtesy of Taschen, shared with permission

Dubbed the 20th century’s greatest pet photographer, the late Walter Chandoha was renowned for capturing the unique personalities of furry companions. From black-and-white candid shots to those posed in the studio, Taschen’s new volume, Dogs, compiles five decades worth of capricious, curious, and playful pups. The 296-page book is a sequel to Cats, which similarly collected hundreds of the iconic photographer’s images, and is edited by Reuel Golden.

In his early years, Chandoha served as a combat photographer during World War II. He went on to be prolific across mediums, having written dozens of books and captured more than 225,000 images during his lifetime, many of which were used in magazines and advertisements.

Check out some of our favorite shots of pudgy bulldogs and blue-eyed Weimaraners below, and pre-order a copy of Dogs, which will be released in October, from Taschen or Bookshop.

 

Pugs, Long Island, New York, 1957

Weimaraner, Long Island, New York, 1955

 

 



Design

Build Your Own Trick-Savvy Dog with This DIY Robotics Kit

September 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Petoi, shared with permission

The days of expensive training lessons for your dogs have come to an end. Thanks to Petoi (previously), you can build your own robotic pup that’s programmed to perform basic commands from the get-go. The agile canine, named Bittle, moves just like a live animal would and because of its spring-loaded upper legs, can navigate bumpy terrain and flip itself over when it lands on its back.

Fitting in the palm of a hand, the automated design is battery operated and can be taught new tricks by uploading new programs you can write yourself. The mechanics and color appear similar to Boston Dynamics’ famous utilitarian robot Spot, a substantially larger machine with a much heftier price tag.

With a few weeks remaining, the project’s Kickstarter campaign already has exceeded its fundraising goal, but there are rewards available for those hoping to pick up a new sidekick. To follow the design group’s projects, head to Instagram and Twitter, and watch the robotic creatures in action on YouTube.

 

 

 



Art

Adorable Canines and Chunky Hounds Masterfully Chiseled into Wood by Misato Sano

May 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Misato Sano and Kohei Shikama

Misato Sano ensures that she always has a loyal companion by her side, albeit with a little less slobber and fur. Based in the Myagi prefecture of Japan, the sculptor carves wooden busts and full figures of well-groomed dogs, preferring to leave the small gouges from her chisel on their textured exteriors. Despite being stationary, the pups have typical canine qualities like plump bodies, panting tongues, and pink bows adorning their ears.

Each figure has a distinct facial expression, whether curious, joyful, or contemplative. “When I make a work, I express the multifacetedness of a woman (myself and an object of admiration) as a dog,” she said in a statement. “Dogs are always loyal to their masters. I make my work with the hope (that) they will also nuzzle up to their audience.”

To dive deeper into Sano’s process and see some of the real-life canines that inspire her sculptural works, head to Instagram, and check out her forays in ceramics, embroidery, and drawing on her site. You also might enjoy these carved pets by Gerard Mas.

 

MISATO SANO -The Wood Sculptor – Eng sub from indo films on Vimeo.

 

 



Illustration

Expressive Dogs Shake and Sniff in Kaleidoscopic Illustrations by Marina Okhromenko

March 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Marina Okhromenko

Swirling patches of fur and bespeckled eyes characterize the emotive dogs in Marina Okhromenko’s digital illustrations. Hoping to capture varying degrees of joy, devotion, and adoration, the Moscow-based illustrator depicts twelve dogs wearing different expressions, each distinguished through their eagerness and the intensity of their stares. One pup curiously pushes its nose through a pale blue gap, while another’s tongue hangs from its mouth as it pants.

In an interview with Adobe Create, Okhromenko talked about her lifelong love for experimenting with color combinations. “As a child, my favorite toy was a kaleidoscope—you take and mix different colored pieces, and the result is always beautiful. A similar aesthetic in my work is my unique voice,” she said.

Okhromenko is also the publisher of ORE Lab, a notebook design company. The expressive portraits were created as part of ORE’s project called arTTask, which connects art with productivity, an intersection that’s one of Okhromenko’s current obsessions.  “We are seeing this more and more as high-tech companies decorate their walls and surrounding spaces with interesting illustrations. In our environment, we call this neuro-office,” she said. “I’m interested in how to design a personal space to combine the simplicity of minimalism with the beauty of fireworks.” To keep up with the illustrator’s vibrant projects, head to Instagram and Behance.

 

 

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