fantasy

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Art

Illustrations by David Alvarez Reflect the Intersection of Fantasy and Reality

December 14, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images © David Alvarez, shared with permission

When working in black and white instead of a muted color palette, Mexico-based artist David Alvarez (previously) manages to still create illustrations rich in texture and contrast. Layers of graphite and charcoal on white and cream colored paper form complex shadows. Highlights emerge from the negative space and become the light on stone walls, on faces, and on glowing wings and shiny armor.

The depictions of creatures from myth and fantasy are personal projects from Alvarez’s notebook that have been reworked at random over time. “There is an attempt to represent how humanity moves, how it thinks, how humans are in collective,” he tells Colossal. “A jumble of undivided people who move by reflex and without autonomy.” The new drawings of little girls, stone pillars, and soldiers are illustrations for an as yet unpublished book that the artist says is about “social pressures and the search for freedom.”

You can see more of Alvarez’s contemplative work on Instagram and purchase prints of his illustrations via his Etsy shop.

 

 



Art Design

An Enormous Smoke-Spewing Dragon Roves the Streets of Calais, France

November 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

La Machine, the group of inventors, designers, artists, and builders responsible for 46 foot-tall minotaurs and massive tarantulas roving the streets of Europe, has most recently unleashed the Dragon of Calais. The moveable beast, complete with articulated limbs and a smoke-spewing snout, was paraded around Calais for 3 days at the beginning of November. It has now been installed as a stationary sculpture, on which visitors can climb up and walk around. Follow the latest projects from La Machine on Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)

 

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Art

Mysterious Mermaid Tails Lodged in Laundromat Machines by Olivia Erlanger

May 3, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Artist and curator Olivia Erlanger upends fantastical ideas of mermaids with her documentation of mermaid tails emerging from laundromat washing machines. Erlanger, who lives and works in New York City, staged the tails in Laundry Zone in  Los Angeles’ Arlington Heights neighborhood. The installation was conceptualized in partnership with Mother Culture, a contemporary art and media platform that happens to be based near the laundromat.  “Ida” consists of (presumably) life-size mermaid tails that are covered in scales, with bifurcated fins in shades of yellow and pink.

A Los Angeles Magazine article cites Erlanger’s previous installation with snake tongues as an inspiration for the tails. And the artist explains that her tendency to work in, or create, environments helped lay the groundwork for sharing work in a public space. “Ida” was staged in autumn, 2018 and is currently making waves in a new iteration titled “Pergusa” at  the Frieze art fair in New York, which runs through May 5, 2019. Explore more of Erlanger’s work on her website.

Image via Mother Culture

 

 

 

 

 



Art Photography

Curiosity and Isolation Take Center Stage in Karen Jerzyk’s Lonely Astronaut Series

April 12, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographer Karen Jerzyk explores themes of loneliness and isolation through her ongoing series, The Lonely Astronaut. Sparked by her purchase of an authentic vintage high-altitude space suit in 2017, Jerzyk has been traveling the world taking photos of women in the suit. Each subject is alone, placed in a deserted yet evocative environment, from an abandoned theater to an old-fashioned bedroom. In some scenes, the astronaut engages with their surroundings—reading a book or talking on the phone—where in others, the character stands apart from the world they inhabit.

Although many of the scenes have a fantastical tone, the photographer clarifies that she uses only practical effects to create the images. In staging the floating astronaut with butterflies, “I had the model on her stomach on a stool and had real taxidermy butterflies on wire and composited a bunch of shots so I could multiply them,” Jerzyk explains.

Jerzyk shares with Colossal that the astronaut series taps into her own affinity for exploration and her social anxiety. “I think at one time or another, we can all relate with The Lonely Astronaut—things in life can get bad, but there’s still no denying the beauty and wonder of the world, and we need to push on and keep exploring.”

The Boston and New York-based photographer will be capturing subjects in a pop-up scene at PS Kaufman Gallery in Los Angeles on May 16-17, as well as vending at the Oddities Flea Market on May 18-19, 2019. Jerzyk will also be at the Chicago Oddities Flea Market on August 24-25, 2019. You can explore more of Jerzyk’s unusual worlds on Instagram and Behance, and find prints of her photographs on her website. (via designboom)

 

 



Illustration

Infinite Cities Take Shape in Imagined Architectural Drawings by JaeCheol Park

December 4, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

JaeCheol Park, who goes by the artist name PaperBlue, creates intricate drawings in the style of architectural drafts. But rather than imagining a buildable building, Park employs the classic illustrative aesthetic to form fantastical urban environments where structures appear and disappear, bleeding into one another in a haze of geometric patterns. His loose linework and intensive layering enliven the historical architectural styles he highlights in his drawings. The artist, who is based in Seongnam, South Korea, has a broad audience for his digital and concept art along with his more traditional drafting-inspired work. Park shares drawing tutorials on Youtube and finished work on Facebook. He has also published a book, which is available on Amazon. (via ARCHatlas)

 

 



Art

Otherworldly Tropical Fruits and Plants From the Imagination of Ceramicist William Kidd

November 5, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Ceramicist William Kidd has been working for over 25 years using a combination of wheel throwing and hand building to form his imaginative organic specimens. The Florida-based artist shares in a statement on his website that he draws inspiration from the natural world: “my work is not an imitation of any real living thing, but rather life forms that might exist in some other worldly place.” Kidd uses low-fire red earthenware finished with oxide stains, underglazes, and crawl glaze to form sculptural seeds, fruits, and flowers. Spikes and bulges protrude from beneath the surfaces of the brightly colored and richly textured pieces, with stalks and flowers bursting through, indicating a forthcoming metamorphosis. Kidd frequently shows his work at art festivals and fairs, especially in Florida. You can keep up with his show itinerary on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Quirky Portraits by Bill Mayer Imagine Flora and Fauna as High Society Humans

June 28, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Des Fleurs Qui Mordent

Fusing charming portraits of wildlife with the severe trappings of historical costume, Bill Mayer creates darkly fantastical worlds in his detailed gouache paintings. A frog poses in royal dress, a pearl-draped mouse looks ready for a ball amongst massive wedges of cheese, and a rhinoceros stands ready to defend his territory in a suit of armor. The accomplished illustrator lives in Decatur, Georgia and has had a long career as a commercial artist. In an interview with WOW X WOW, Mayer reflected on his concept development:

For me, the most important element of the painting is the concept. The medium you use is just a way of furthering that original concept or finding some elements that add an intelligence to the work. Most of the time I start with small thumbnails which help me sort out the basic visual, a starting place. It probably comes from years of commercial work where you have to show your ideas before you start on a piece… Sometimes I will pull a piece of acetate over a painting and try to figure out what was bothering me and try a few things. Sometimes I will scan them in and use Photoshop, try some things, then go back and paint that way.

The artist continues on to explain that he doesn’t draw much distinction between being an illustrator or a fine artist, and he has only recently begun to show his work in gallery settings. You can see more of Mayer’s vast portfolio, including commercial work and digital illustrations, on his website. (via Supersonic)

The Pathogen

Queen of the Flies

Tulip Head

Cheeseball  

Tortoise and Hare

Land of Plenty (left), The Warrior No. 2 (right)

The Black Sun

Winter’s Muse