Like most romances, penguins’ relationships aren’t black and white. The aquatic birds are known for their scandalous affairs, messy heartbreaks, and frequent kidnappings of each others’ chicks. To keep track of their complicated relationship statuses, caretakers at Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium and Kyoto Aquarium have created a complex network documenting 2020’s romances.
The two flowcharts are replete with color-coded lines and symbols: Red hearts denote couples. Purple lines with question marks signify more complicated relationships with the potential of romance. A blue, broken heart indicates an ended affair. Yellow lines mean friendship, while green marks an enemy. Each penguin’s name is written underneath its photo.
In an interview with CNN Travel, Shoko Okuda, a spokeswoman for the aquariums, said the caretakers have included the dramatic birds’ flirtatious tactics, too, which includes wing flapping and shaking their necks left to right. Heartbroken birds—one female in Kyoto (shown below) ended six relationships last year alone—often refuse to eat their rice as they cope with the loss. The caretakers included have formed strong bonds with the penguins, sometimes even coming between same-species connections.
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Sydney-based artist Mechelle Bounpraseuth crafts life-sized ceramics that explore her identity as a first-generation daughter of Laotian refugees. Her small and glossy ceramic artwork, which ranges from drink cans to widely known sauces, explores her connection with her past and how branded ingredients are rooted in culinary culture and rituals.
Bounpraseuth was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, and despite many fond memories of her family and childhood, her religion discouraged her from pursuing artistic pursuits. She left the religion in her 20s and got married, realizing that her dream of becoming an artist was possible and that she didn’t have to succumb to the person her religion had wanted her to be.
Her creativity initially began from drawing and creating zines, before Bounpraseuth enrolled in a ceramics course and began crafting functional objects. Noticing her talent for the medium, her tutor encouraged her to pursue work with more artistic flair. She began to expand on her drawings of household objects by recreating them in clay and glossy bright colors.
One of Bounpraseuth’s ceramics is a Heinz Ketchup bottle, a condiment found in many family fridges and cupboards throughout the world. For the artist, the sauce represents the memory of her family eating pho together, a ritual in which they would come together and make the recipe from scratch with a dollop of ketchup. These sculptural forms are meaningful symbols to Bounpraseuth as the pho was a labor of love and would take her family all day to make.
Through the creation of these domestic objects from her past, Bounpraseuth uses her artwork as a way to reflect upon and process her childhood memories and as a way to navigate her old and new identities. These pieces illustrate how some values remain passed down from generations, like Bounparseuth’s reference to her family’s shared domesticity, while some core aspects of family, like religion, are not always.
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Animator Siqi Song explores the deeply personal implications of China’s One Child Policy in her powerful animated short, SISTER. The film uses felt stop-motion animation to tell the story of a family that conceived two children during the years—1979 to 2015—that the Chinese government controlled the number of children families could raise. An adult man, the film’s protagonist, looks back on his youth and the complicated family dynamics among siblings and parents.
“Growing up with my brother has been a privilege and a bittersweet experience for me,” Song explains. She shares that, being an exception to the rule, she has been the subject of many questions from friends about the experience of growing up with a sibling. “I also want to tell the stories of my friends, who would’ve had a different life if their siblings were born,” says Song. “This film is dedicated to this group memory.”
The Los Angeles-based director and animator has worked on several of her own highly lauded shorts, as well as on the feature film Missing Link. Watch more of Song’s films on her website (where she also shares behind-the-scenes shots), and follow along with new projects on Instagram. (via Short of the Week)
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Two, three, and four dimensions commingle in “The Full Story” by filmmaker Daisy Jacobs and animator Chris Wilder. In their previous, highly lauded short, “The Bigger Picture”, the duo painted animations on walls, combined with sculpture components like moveable papier maché limbs, and regular ‘real world’ objects.
In their newest film, “The Full Story,” Jacobs and Wilder tell Colossal that they “really wanted to push [themselves] creatively and try new ideas.” In addition to all the elements the duo used in “The Bigger Picture,” the newer film also incorporates human actors to tell the story of two siblings’ experience of their parents acrimonious marriage.
In order to merge the real and imagined, Jacobs and Wilder explain that they made the sets more realistic and the actors more ‘painterly’ to find a stylistic middle ground. “To make the sets more realistic we emphasized textures and brought out shine with lighting and varnish. With the real people we did the opposite–painting their clothes, minimizing shadows on their faces with make-up and making them more graphic with wigs.”
Jacobs and Wilder only animate as a pair, and explain that their work is done “straight-ahead”. Each image is painted over as they animate, which allows no room for error or second takes. To complete the film, Huw Bradford created the soundtrack and a slate of random objects worked as Foley.
You can see Jacobs in action working on “The Full Story” in the time-lapse below, and see more on her Vimeo page.
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Preview Artworks Available at Mother & Child Vol. II Fundraiser to Aid Families Separated at the U.S./Mexico Border
It’s been a year since the trauma of separated families at the U.S.-Mexico border shocked people around the world. Tragically, this humanitarian crisis continues, as documented by journalists and photographers, as well the detained children themselves. Please join us in New York City on July 15, 2019 from 6-9pm for Mother & Child Vol. II, a fundraising gallery show. Colossal is partnering with Sugarlift and a slate of talented and generous artists from around the globe to support three vetted non-profits: Kids in Need of Defense, The Young Center, and The Florence Project provide direct aid and legal support to affected families.
Original artworks, prints, and photographs have been donated by over fifty artists including Valerie Lueth, Luján Pérez, Pat Perry, Maude White, Elicia Edijanto, Lauren Matsumoto, Michael Meadors and more. If you can’t make it to Manhattan, artworks are also available for purchase in the Mother & Child web shop, starting on July 15. RSVP for free here so we can send you a quick one-time reminder: bitly.com/motherandchild2019.
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Morocco-born, Barcelona-based artist Mohamed L’Ghacham paints large figurative murals based on scenes from vintage family photos and everyday objects. Often choosing photographic “accidents” for their authenticity, the artist paints meals, table settings, toasts, and other communal rituals performed by normal people. When viewed at a wall-sized scale, the personal and seemingly unimportant moments gain new meaning and become more emotionally resonant for viewers despite never having met the families portrayed.
L’Ghacham’s use of muted color palettes connects the murals with their respective urban surroundings while also staying true to the vintage aesthetic of the source photography. Loose, layered brush strokes give the general shape of facial features and objects, but a step back from the image is necessary to appreciate the full snapshot. Head to the Mohamed L’Ghacham’s Vimeo page to see the artist in action, and follow his Instagram for more in-progress and completed mural photos.
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Editor's Picks: Illustration
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