humor

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Art Craft

Bizarre Animals Challenge the Bounds of Recognizability in Hybrid Assemblages by Debra Broz

October 25, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Winged Elephant” 6 x 7 x 7 inches

Winged elephants, multi-eared rabbits, and carrot-legged babies ready to be dipped in hummus: recent sculptures by Debra Broz (previously) continue to expand her collection of odd mashups formed from found ceramics. By carefully sourcing, separating, and re-fusing juxtaposed components of otherwise unremarkable ceramic knick-knacks, Broz forms entirely new creatures that are equal parts bizarre and humorous. The Los Angeles-based artist tells Colossal that she finds inspiration in absurdity:

I think a lot of us are frequently telling ourselves that the world is this very serious place, and that our lives as adults require careful consideration—and to a degree that’s true—but we also need to take time to realize that the world is also wildly full of nonsense, and that aspects of our lives are incredibly ridiculous. And I think it’s completely fair for us to recognize that, and laugh about it.

“Carrot Babies” 5.5 x 10 x 5 inches each

Broz also sees surprise as an important element in her work. Creating the opportunity for viewers’ expectations to be upended and their planned narrative disrupted makes her small sculptures uniquely memorable. She tells Colossal that acquiring a prank wooden outhouse built by her grandfather (not life-size) that explodes when a quarter is dropped in helped her articulate the importance of the unexpected in her practice. “For me, that object—the exploding outhouse—is weirdly inspirational in the way it takes something unassuming and makes it into something that surprises or bewilders people,” Broz explains. “It’s funny how that theme is so prevalent in my sculpture, but I had never thought about it in the context of my grandpa’s exploding outhouse until recently.”

In addition to adding to her ceramic-centric body of work, Broz has been experimenting recently with stuffed animals and balloons. The malleable materials make it easier to stretch her imagination and try out new ideas. She’s also been working in multiples, creating different variations on the same animal: the two white rabbits shown here were a part of that series. “It was a really interesting process to see how many ideas I could think of to alter that one particular form. That also got me interested in the idea of how much you can change a form before it stops being what it was and becomes something else,” Broz explains.

On November 16, 2019, you can see some of Broz’s iterative rabbits at the Track 16 Gallery Anniversary Show, and will have a piece up for auction in a fundraiser supporting Monte Vista Projects, an artist space and curatorial collective of which Broz is a part. Follow along with the artist’s latest creative endeavors on Instagram.

“Safari Turkey” 6 x 4 x 3 inches

“White Rabbit #24” 6 x 2 x 3 inches

“Duckling Ball” 6 x 6 x 5 inches

“Dancing Dolphin II” 5.5 x 8 x 3.5 inches

“Royal Canine” 6.5 x 12 x 8 inches

“White Rabbit #20” 5 x 3.5 x 2 inches

 

 



Amazing

The World’s First Bee Influencer Uses Social Media to Raise Funds for Lifesaving Pollinator Research

October 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

We can only imagine the job description: Science Foundation seeks expert visual effects designer to create robust social media presence for imaginary insect influencer. B., billed as the world’s first bee influencer, reports from Instagram-friendly locations like Montemartre in Paris and beachfront lounge chairs. Channelling trends among young female influencers, B. flaunts her figure, does yoga in pretty places, and hosts Story A.M.A’s, answering queries about her favorite musicians (Beethoven, the Bee Gees, Beeyonce). B’s captions are a blend of educational and quippy—a “photo” of her rowing is captioned “I have only one flaw… (LOL) I don’t know how to swim!”

Following in the footsteps of other scientific non-profits like the California Academy of Sciences and the Field Museum in Chicago, Fondation de France seeks to meet people where they’re at—which is, by and large, on social media. Humor, au courant language, and memes have become powerful tools to convey important messages about our past, present, and future world.

But whereas other institutions use strong voices on social channels to indirectly raise funds through increased museum attendance and perhaps larger sponsorships for exhibitions, the foundation is channeling income directly from their in-house influencer. Companies and organizations who feel that their brand identity aligns with B. can pay the rising-star insect to promote their products in the same way that a #vanlife influencer might pose with a brand of potato chips or shampoo. The fees that a company pays for exposure with B. go directly to Fondation de France’s BEE FUND, which the 50 year-old foundation created “to fund the actions considered as the most fundamental and urgent in the protection of all species of bees.”

You can follow along with B. on Instagram. If you or your company is interested in working with her as an influencer, find out more on the Fondation de France’s BEE FUND microsite.

 

 



Art Colossal

Submit Your Idea For an Artistic Mini Golf Course Hole by October 31st for ‘Par Excellence Redux’ at the Elmhurst Art Museum

October 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Submissions close on October 31, 2019 for next year’s Par Excellence Redux. If you’ve been sitting on a great idea, now’s the time to send it in! The 18-hole artist-designed golf course will be fully playable, installed in 2020 at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Par Excellence Redux is a contemporary reimagining of the landmark exhibition in 1988 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, curated by Colossa’s Editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson. Find out more and submit your idea here! Selected artists will be allotted $1,300 as a combined honorarium and materials budget.

 

 



Art Design

Banksy’s Gross Domestic Product Ecommerce Store Launches with Line of Sardonic Homewares

October 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

As we recently reported, Banksy debuted a dystopian homewares store on October 1, 2019. Making good on his promise to open an online platform to purchase goods displayed in the Croydon pop-up (which was never, in fact, open to the public, and closed this past weekend), the Gross Domestic Product store went live today. Featuring a slate of items, ranging from a rat race clock to a static-filled HD TV, each piece serves as a social commentary on issues ranging from the refugee crisis to children’s sugar-filled diets. Most items—some of which are pointedly nonfunctional—are available to request for purchase immediately through a somewhat opaque lottery process. Pieces all seem to indicate that they are signed by the artist.

To mediate demand, the website requires would-be buyers to answer the prompt ‘Why does art matter?’ In the event of demand outstripping supply, the answer to this question may be used to evaluate your application. Please make your answer as amusing, informative or enlightening as possible, the website states. Similarly, seemingly in anticipation of those wishing to re-sell their GDP purchases, the ecommerce website also links in the footer to BBay, which describes itself as “your first choice destination to trade in secondhand art by a third-rate artist.’ Keep up with the latest from Banksy on Instagram.

Collaboration with Escif

 

 



Art Craft Food

Decadent Baked Goods Replicated in Crocheted Wool by Kate Jenkins

October 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

We don’t recommend getting near Kate Jenkins’s breakfast spread before you’ve had your morning coffee, or you might find yourself biting down on a bagel full of yarn. The British crochet artist (previously) creates fiber-based foods that bear a striking resemblance to their edible inspirations. Jenkins has a particular affinity for baked goods: her recent spreads include bagels and lox, whole grain bread loaves, and individual fruit tarts. The artist creates every last detail down to tiny caper berries, thinly sliced red onions, and kiwi and poppy seeds made from black beads.

Jenkins learned to knit and crochet as a child in Wales, and shares in an artist statement that she has always been fascinated and inspired by everyday objects and experiences. In addition to her culinary crochets, Jenkins trained and worked for many years as a knitwear designer in the fashion world. Keep up with Jenkins’s freshest bakes on Instagram, and purchase artwork in her online store.

For those in NYC who love textile-based delectables, we also recommend Lucy Sparrow’s felt food “deli” pop-up at Rockefeller Center, open through October 20, 2019.

 

 



Animation

Natural History Museum: A Snarky Celebration of Anthropology and Chicken Wings by Kirsten Lepore

October 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Using stop motion animation and her signature blend of the banal and bizarre, animator Kirsten Lepore (previously) plays with universal human traits in her new short, “Natural History Museum.” The animated film highlights the readiness with which we condescend to cultures from the past, as well as the deliciousness of chicken wings, through the lens of two characters whose identities shift over time. See more from Lepore on Vimeo and pick up swag inspired by her animations in her Society6 store.

 

 

 



Art

Ironing Wrinkled Chips, Keeping Headphones in Place, and Other Surreal Life-Hacks Photographed by Gab Bois

October 5, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Montreal-based artist Gab Bois uses everyday objects to create photographs that twist reality and illustrate bizarre, yet clever, concepts. Often achieved using post-processing techniques, the seamless images depict unnatural double entendres and impossible feats. For the artist, the ideas are the star and photography is a tool for translation.

Gab Bois has a degree in fine art but didn’t practice photography until after graduating. Finding inspiration in the mundane and random, the common thread in Gab Bois’ work is the familiar. The artist prefers creating from her own imagination and dreams so that the work feels authentic. She tells Colossal that nine times out of ten, she is the model in her photographs. “I like to be very hands-on when it comes to most aspects of my practice and find it very hard to delegate,” she explains. “Being my own subject gives me a sense of control that I wouldn’t have with a model.” She has shot other people on occasion, and Gab Bois says that those were great learning experiences.

Gab Bois’ images live on Instagram, but the artist says that they “aspire to live a much larger life outside of the platform.” She added that Instagram is “a great diffusion tool but it feels reductive to me to have my work reside solely in a virtual environment.” The artist also has a sculptural practice that lives outside of social media.

Gab Bois is working on a solo exhibition for 2020. In the more immediate future, her work will be featured in a group exhibition opening on October 10, 2019 at KK Outlet in London and also in Montreal on October 17, 2019. To see more of her ideas come to life, follow the artist on Instagram.