Posts tagged
with humor

Art Photography

A Collaborative Photo Project Imagines a World Where Street Artists Have Free Rein

May 4, 2023

Grace Ebert

An animated image of an embroidery on a photo of a building, in front of the building

Victoria Villasana, Les Arenes de Picasso near Paris. All images courtesy of Joseph Ford, shared with permission

What would artists create if all of the world’s surfaces could become a canvas? Joseph Ford—of Invisible Jumpers fame—responds to this question in a new project called Impossible Street Art. Collaborating with eight artists including Peeta (previously), Levalet (previously), and Victoria Villasana (previously), Ford reimagines the possibilities of public spaces that are otherwise inaccessible due to scale, safety issues, or restrictions.

To begin the project, Ford photographed the locations, which include the Panthéon, the Seven Sisters cliffs in Sussex, and the center of a highway in Los Angeles, and then handed over enlarged prints to the artists. Once their additions were complete, he returned to the original sites and documented the altered images against the original backdrop. Playful and imaginative, the juxtaposed photos envision “a parallel universe where (artists) have complete artistic freedom.”

Shop the limited-edition prints and find behind-the-scenes looks at Ford’s process on his site.


An image of a man watering the water of a dam on a photo of a dam, in front of the dam

Levalet, Brighton Marina, U.K.

An image of a character hanging from the edge of the Pantheon on a photo of the Pantheon, in front of the Pantheon

Ador, The Pantheon, Paris

An image of a three-dimensional geometric sculpture jutting off a building on a photo of the building, in front of the building

Peeta, Shoreham Cement Works

A mural of penguins hanging off the side of the cliff on a photo of the cliff, in front of the cliff

Ador, Seven Sisters, U.K.

An image of typographic murals on a facade on a photo of the building, in front of the building

Denis Meyers, National Theatre London

A mural in the middle of a viaduct on a photo of the viaduct, position in front of the viaduct

JanIsDeMan, Balcome Viaduct, U.K.

An image typographic murals on the median of a busy highway on a photo of the highway, in front of the highway

Morley, Los Angeles





An Animated Swimmer Dives into the Exhausting Experience of Working Under Pressure

May 3, 2023

Grace Ebert

A relatable animated short from the Ukrainian artist and director Iulia Voitova captures the total collapse and immobility of burnout and exhaustion. “La Plongeuese,” or “The Diver,” follows a professional swimmer so affected by a rigorous training schedule and the incessant noise of her coach’s whistle that she decides to give up her career entirely. When she visits a talented masseuse, though, she finds that her nerves and anxiety, which Voitova brilliantly depicts with tightly crimped paper, finally get some reprieve.

“La Plongeusese” was the director’s graduation project for La Poudrière, an animation film school in Valence, France, and you can find more of her works on Vimeo and Instagram.


A swimmer with crimped paper legs stands at the edge of a diving board

A swimmer with crimped paper legs stands at the edge of a diving board while a coach blows his whistle

A hand pulls at the middle finger of another hand, with two fingers in crimped paper

A large man stretches out a swimmer in exaggerated fashion



Art Colossal

Interview: Christoph Niemann On Wit, Distilling an Idea, and How the Internet Has Made Us Better Readers

March 24, 2023

Grace Ebert

A drawing of an egg with legs and arms using a person to flip a frying pan in the air

“Turning The Table” (2022), from the book ‘Idea Diary.’ All images © Christoph Niemann, shared with permission

The act of drawing, of envisioning an idea and conveying it visually, produces the same feelings in Christoph Niemann as it did when he was a child. A wildly successful artist, author, and animator with a keen wit, Niemann reiterates in a new interview that “there is no trick” to making the creative process easier.

It’s actually kind of comforting that the reality of drawing is that there’s no secret. Most artists have doubt. I’ve always wondered: is there a secret? Is there something I don’t know? Is there a trick that people have to make less difficult? From what I’ve found, there isn’t! What I’m doing today is exactly the same thing, with different tools, with different input, but exactly the same thing that I was doing when I was 12.

In this conversation, Niemann discusses his practice and process, how he consumes news and culture, and how his openness when experiencing a new city or space has changed since the pandemic began. The conversation veers from poetry, distillation, and the purpose of art to the downsides of pitching and finally, to his profound and enduring love for the humble act of putting ink on paper.

Read the interview.


A sketch of a person in orange ink stretched out on a chair with a tangerine for a stomach

“Sunday Sketch (Tangerine)” (2014), digital




Clever Illustrations by Nash Weerasekera Highlight Ironies and Anxieties of Everyday Life

March 21, 2023

Kate Mothes

An illustration of a figure painting a silver lining on a cloud

All images © Nash Weerasekera, shared with permission

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.


An illustration of a figure with Post-It notes stuck on his face

An illustration of figures walking with umbrellas

An illustration of a figure sitting on an overturned car and meditating

An illustration of a girl in a bathing suit sitting on an ice floe with a penguin, looking at glaciers

An illustration of a tiny figure running around the face of a watch like a race track

An illustration of a figure submerged in a sick full of dishes

An illustration of a tea bag full of pills, steeping in a mug

An illustration of a figure with her mouth open extremely wide

An illustration of a figure whose body has been modulated into shelves



Art Illustration

Debatable Motivations Inspire the Adventures of Biking Sloths and Raging Cats in Ravi Zupa’s Illustrations

March 17, 2023

Grace Ebert

An illustration of a sloth riding a bicycle with text saying "what an intense rush!"

All images © Ravi Zupa, shared with permission

A raccoon on a motorcycle laments over being a poser, a sloth finds itself exhilerated after a bike ride, and a raging cat screams that, despite its snarling teeth, it’s not angry. The self-conscious, awkward, and excitable creatures are the latest additions to Ravi Zupa’s growing cast of characters, which follow earlier illustrations featuring a pack of self-deprecating dogs and a herd of disorderly, drunken cats.

Zupa tells Colossal that he’s spent the last few months riding his bike near his home in Commerce City, Colorado, each morning—rain, snow, or sunshine—and this dedication has translated to his work. Many of his recent prints and greeting cards feature animals mid-cycle as they contemplate their television habits and whether their helmet really does make them look corny.

Currently, Zupa is preparing for a solo show opening in June at Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles. His work will also be included in a group exhibition opening in July at Harman Projects in New York City. Shop prints and greeting cards featuring the illustrations shown here on his site.


An illustration of two cats riding motorcylces with text saying "friendship, they had decided to go for more adventures!"

An illustration of an angry cat with text saying "I said...I'm fine!"

An illustration of an angry cat with text saying "VOTE!"

Four illustrations of cats riding bicycles and motorcycles on grainy yellow backdrops surrounded by text

An illustration of a tiger doing a backend with text saying "those who are flexible and yielding are disciples of life"

An illustration of an angry cat with text saying "do not go gentle into that good night rage against the dying of the light"




Through Incisive Paintings, Toni Hamel Highlights Futile and Inadequate Responses to Global Issues

March 7, 2023

Grace Ebert

“Ikebana VII (The Arrangement)” (2023), oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches. All images © Toni Hamel, shared with permission

It may be human to err, but Toni Hamel’s characters take mistakes and futility to irrational conclusions. The artist (previously) is known for her keen wit and observations of contemporary life, which she translates into oil paintings that place folly at the center: a woman paints red stripes onto a tulip’s petals, a man gestures toward a celestial Amazon logo, and a team numbers clouds suspended in the sky.

Many of Hamel’s works comment on inadequate responses to major issues like the climate crisis and social inequities, and she often paints scenes with figures undertaking unhelpful and unrelated actions to remedy the problem. Her “Activist” paintings, for example, depict a melting arctic and figures attempting to stop the loss of life and landscape through words alone. Laced with humor and satire, Hamel considers her work a form of protest and “a reflection of my general preoccupations as an artist.”

Currently living and working in Kingston, Ontario, Hamel will have many of the pieces shown here at CK Contemporary in San Francisco in the coming weeks. You can find an archive of her works on her site and Instagram.


A painting of two men writing numbers on clouds to count them

“The tally” (2023), oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches

A painting of a man standing on the earth pointing at a red orb with the Amazon lgoo

“To infinity and beyond” (2022), oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches

A painting of a woman painting red stripes on a tulip's petals

“Ikebana VI (Final Touches)” (2023), oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

A painting of two people drawing an oversized pigeon

“Prototype I” (2019-2022), oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches

A painting of a whale and a person writing "stay" in yellow on its belly

“The Activist II (Stay)” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

A painting of a woman sweeping the petals of a tulip

“Ikebana V (Spring Cleaning)” (2023), oil on canvas in artist’s frame, 14 x 18 inches

A painting of a person scaling an iceberg to write "Last Call" in yellow on the side

“The Activist I (Last Call)” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

A round painting of a group of people standing together and looking at aircraft in the sky

“The arrival” (2022), oil on panel, 12 x 12 inches



A Colossal


Sailing Ship Kite