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Illustration

Uncanny Scenarios Unfold in Whimsical and Ironic Illustrations by Yuko Shimizu

November 16, 2022

Kate Mothes

An illustration by Yuko Shimizu of a young person and their dog with balloons shaped like lifebuoys.

“Balloons.” All images © Yuko Shimizu, shared with permission

Abundance, repetition, and a tinge of irony accompany a cast of humans and animals through uncanny scenarios in Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu’s illustrations. Her whimsical subjects are often playful and humorous, like a pet dog in a sweater with red stripes that matches its youthful owner’s swimming suit, the pair flanked by numerous balloons in the shape of lifebuoys. In contrast, a more grave undertone emerges in “Me Too,” a reference to the #MeToo movement, as a woman stands on a mountain of eyes and attempts to brush countless more off of her body.

Drawing inspiration from myriad sources, including Japanese culture and current events, Shimizu’s compositions are characterized by a sense of action and obscure narrative. You can follow more of her work on Instagram.

 

An illustration by Yuko Shimizu of figures surrounded by numerous cats.

“Catman”

A detail of an illustration by Yuko Shimizu of numbered lifebuoys that look like balloons.

Detail of “Balloons”

An illustration by Yuko Shimizu of a figure on a bicycle carrying tulips. some that are so large they obscure him.

“Dutch Tulips”

An illustration by Yuko Shimizu featuring several children in white pajamas underwater with red mushrooms as if in a dream.

“Little Nemo”

An illustration by Yuko Shimizu of a woman standing on a pile of eyes as she tries to brush eyes off her body with two lint brushes.

“Me Too”

A detail of an illustration by Yuko Shimizu of a woman brushing eyes off of her body using two lint brushes.

Detail of “Me Too”

An illustration by Yuko Shimizu of a figure emerging from the water in front of moon with a net over their head.

“Fisherman”

 

 

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Art Photography

Quirky Clothesline Creatures Saunter Across Helga Stentzel’s Landscape Illusions

November 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of laundry hanging on a line like a dinosaur in a landscape

“Laundrosaurus.” All images © Helga Stentzel, shared with permission

A wooly sweater returns to its material roots in the latest creatures to spring from Helga Stentzel’s clothesline menagerie. The London-based artist captivated audiences last year with her whimsically strung farm animals that appeared to put old shirts and jackets out to pasture. Now, Stentzel’s collection of characters includes a dinosaur of bleached white undergarments, a sweatpants camel, and the aforementioned sweater sheep. Positioned against expansive views of deserts and mountainous areas, the stylish illusions take a playful approach to laundry day.

Alongside these creatures, Stentzel has been creating 3D works, some of which are on view from November 18, 2022, to March 1, 2023, at CXC Art Museum in Seoul. Pick up a print in her shop, and follow her on Instagram to keep an eye on the additions to what the artist terms “household surrealism.”

 

A photo of laundry hanging on a line like a zebra in a landscape

“Zelda” (2022)

A photo of laundry hanging on a line like a cat on a roof

“Inky”

A photo of laundry hanging on a line like sheep in a landscape

“Baa-baa-ra” (2022)

A photo of laundry hanging on a line like a camel in a landscape

“Camella” (2022)

 

 



Art Design

Designed for Leisure, Sarah Ross’ ‘Archisuits’ Question the Inhospitable Environments of American Cities

November 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

All images © Sarah Ross, shared with permission

Among American cities, Los Angeles has a reputation for being particularly car-centric, and it lacks the infrastructure for walkability or a robust public transit system. This choice of design is inherently political, as it makes commutes and travel across neighborhoods more inaccessible for people who don’t drive.

There’s also the fact that public spaces available to pedestrians generally aren’t constructed with comfort in mind, an issue Chicago-based artist Sarah Ross sought to remedy back in 2005 with the satirical Archisuits. Absurdly shaped, Ross’s four leisurewear pieces bulge with supports that perfectly fit into the negative space of benches, fences, and building facades. The designs draw a contrast between the soft, bendable wearables and the cold, rigid architecture, which the artist describes as “an arm of the law, a form that uses the built environment to police and control raced, classed, and gendered bodies.”

Nearly twenty years later, the project retains its original relevance and has gained new urgency as the climate crisis requires mass reduction in car use and an overhaul in how we collectively conceive of public areas. Ross shares with Colossal:

The same issues are happening where people are criminalized for being poor, black, brown, or disabled in public space. In many places around the globe, there is a turn to the right a monopoly of power is concentrated into the hands of the very few. We continue to live in siloed, segregated worlds.

Find more of the artist’s projects that consider how politics inform spaces on her site.

 

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of four people wearing blue bulging leisure suits

 

 



Art

From Play to Politics, Artist S.C. Mero Transforms Los Angeles’s Streets into Sites of Satire

October 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Vote-by-Mail” (2020). All images © S.C. Mero, shared with permission

An explosive mushroom cloud, an absurdly large bike lock, and a lobster served up from a pothole are a few of the installations from artist S.C. Mero that relay both the irony and irreverence of modern life. Working across Downtown Los Angeles for the last decade, the artist transforms infrastructure into temporary sites of critique and play. “Both of those realities are equally true not only of my environment but life itself,” she says. “Given the nature of this neighborhood, the subject matter can seem quite political because the disparity of wealth and its consequences are more apparent here.”

Many pieces utilize crumbling streets or areas the city has yet to fix as the base. In creating a miniature streetside swimming pool, for example, Mero left the soy sauce packet, cigarette butts, needle caps, leaves, and other debris found in the exposed manhole before she covered the cavern with plexiglass. Those objects are now frozen under the clear material and surrounded by lounge chairs and a diving board fit for Barbies and Kens.

Other works like “Vote-by-Mail,” which is included in a group exhibition on view through December 10 at Torrance Art Museum, are more explicit in their commentary on contemporary issues. Directly speaking to the rampant voter suppression of the 2020 elections, the blue post office box stands atop legs that are unreasonably tall, making it impossible to drop a ballot.

Currently, Mero is working on a sculpture that will be included in the next show at Shit Art Club opening later this month. She’s also planning a series of works with the Fashion District’s business improvement organization and plans to transform the battered concrete spheres lining a traffic median into a new piece each month. “It’s the first time I’ve worked in collaboration with the city or property owners. I think it’s a cool story considering they were the ones who removed most my artwork when I first started,” she says.

Find more of Mero’s satirically minded works on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design Food

Le Puzz Taps Into Playful Nostalgia with Its Retro-Style Jigsaws

September 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Le Puzz

Kids of the ’90s will recognize the playful retro designs of Le Puzz’s jigsaws. From close-ups of a big salad to a sweet flat lay of peach rings and hotdog gummies, the puzzles capture a certain vintage style sure to bring back child-like joy and nostalgia. Designs range from 500 to 1,000 pieces, all of which are cut at random for a chaotic and quirky tiling experience. Le Puzz is helmed by Alistair Matthews and Michael Hunter and features collaborations with artists like Maisie Broome and Clay Hickson. Shop available jigsaws on the company’s site.

 

 

 



Animation

A Kayak Trip Sends a Father on Anxiety-Provoking Adventures in an Adorable Animated Short

August 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

Multiple scenarios that would give any parent nightmares actualize in the adventurous animation “Kayak.” What begins as a peaceful trip down the river for a father and baby becomes an endless slew of anxiety-inducing incidents as the child trips, ends up upside down in the water, launches into the air several times, and is even preyed upon by a hungry eagle. The short film, which teeters on the terrifying, is a graduation project by students at the French animation school École des Nouvelles Images.