Posts tagged
with humor


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




Art History

While Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ Is on Loan, the Mauritshuis Showcases 170 Imaginative Renditions in Its Place

February 24, 2023

Grace Ebert

A rendition of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" made form rubberbands

Ankie Gooijers. All images courtesy of the Mauritshuis

While Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is on loan to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum for the largest-ever exhibition of the Dutch artist’s work, a cheeky surrogate takes its place. The Mauritshuis in the Hague is currently showing My Girl with a Pearl, a lighthearted and vastly creative digital installation, where the iconic painting usually resides.

Resulting from an open call last year that garnered nearly 3,500 submissions, the temporary piece features 170 renditions of Vermeer’s 1655 portrait presented on a loop. Mediums and styles vary widely, and the installation features everything from an abstract iteration using multi-color rubber bands to elegantly photographed portraiture to the viral corn-cob figure.

My Girl with a Pearl is on view through April 1 when the original painting—which has been the site of speculation in recent weeks as scholars revealed the earring to be an imitation—is slated to return to the Hague. Those who won’t be able to see the installation in person can find dozens of the renditions on Instagram, in addition to a virtual exhibition of the Vermeer exhibition on the Rijksmuseum’s site.


A rendition of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" featuring a Black person

Lab 07

A rendition of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" featuring a duck

Guus the Duck

A rendition of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" featuring a corn cob

Nanan Kang

A rendition of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" featuring a sardine style can

Ege Islekel

A rendition of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" featuring dinnerware

Emil Schwärzler

Two renditions of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" featuring a mouse and abstract lines

Left: Kathy Clemente. Right: Rick Rojnic

A rendition of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" featuring a portrait of a young Black woman

Caroline Sikkenk




Humor and Happenstance Coalesce in Julie Hrudová’s Amsterdam Street Photography

February 17, 2023

Kate Mothes

A photograph of a person on top of a tall light post.

All images © Julie Hrudová, licensed and shared with permission

Along the streets and canals of Amsterdam, photographer Julie Hrudová (previously) captures daily life through candid snapshots of cyclists hauling unique cargo, pedestrians battling the elements, and canines commuting in style. In her series Chasing Amsterdam, Hrudová focuses on everyday moments and unexpected happenings around the Dutch capital, highlighting the diverse routines of its inhabitants. She has also just begun to experiment with mobile phone videography. “After roaming the streets of Amsterdam, it’s fun to capture the city and other places in a new way,” she says.

Prints from Chasing Amsterdam are available to purchase in Hrudová’s shop. Find more of her work on her website, or follow updates on Instagram.


A photograph of a man on a bike with mannequin pieces in the cargo bags.

A dog standing in a shallow pool of water with dyed red fur on top of its head.

Left: A figure walks against the wind with an umbrella, dressed all in brown. Right: A figure walks across a square carrying yellow plastic cubes.

A figure walks out of a door carrying a huge bouquet of balloons.

A figure walks across a platform wearing an abstract, flowery costume, surrounded by people on bikes.

Left: A young man stands in profile with a skateboard on his head. Right: A parrot stands on a waste bin.

A photograph of a man holding a bride's purple dress on a windy day.

A photograph of a person walking their dog in a crate through a park.

A photograph of a figure on a bike, carrying a Christmas tree that obscures their face.




Commuters Go Wild in Matthew Grabelsky’s Uncanny Subway Paintings

February 2, 2023

Grace Ebert

A painted portrait of a horse-human figure riding the subway

“Giddy Up” (2022), oil on canvas, 14 × 16 inches. All images courtesy of Thinkspace Projects, shared with permission

Urbanites know the subway is a prime location to spot the city’s oddities, and yet, a run-in with one of Matthew Grabelsky’s characters would be a particularly wild encounter. The Los Angeles-based artist has spent the last few years rendering human-animal hybrids that nonchalantly ride public transit. Sometimes snacking on a cracker or brushing up on some reading, the characters are surreal, uncanny additions to an otherwise mundane scene.

Grabelsky’s newest oil paintings, which are currently on view as part of Riders at The Brand Library & Art Center in Glendale, California, are hyperrealistic and laced with witty details similar to earlier works in the series. Set on the New York City Subway and London Tube, the portraits are narrative-driven and embedded with pop culture references. The artist shares:

My goal is to create the effect of looking at a scene on the subway as if it were a diorama at a natural history museum. The images present richly detailed moments frozen in time allowing the viewer to closely inspect every element and make connections between them to read an overall story. In this world, people are transformed into part-animal to create scenes that are strange, funny, and endearing.

Curated by Thinkspace Projects, Riders is on view through March 17. You can find an extensive collection of Grabelsky’s commuters on his site and Instagram.


A painted portrait of a father and son human-monkey hybrids riding the subway

“Curious George Takes A Train” (2022), oil on canvas, 16 × 20 inches

On left, a painted portrait of a woman-crow figure on the subway, on the right, a painted portrait of a woman-parrot figure eating crackers on the subway

Left: “Crow-Magnon” (2022), oil on canvas, 28 × 38 inches. Right: “Polly Wanna Cracker” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 × 36 inches

A painted portrait of a dog-human hybrid riding the subway

“Texas Hold’em” (2022), oil on canvas, 12 × 16 inches

Left: A painted portrait of a wolf-human hybrid riding the subway. Right: A painted portrait of two panda-human hybrids riding the subway

Left: “An American Werewolf In London” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 × 32 inches. Right: “Sichuan Express” (2022), oil on canvas, 14 × 20 inches

A painted portrait of a bat-human figure riding the subway

“Gotham Local” (2022), oil on canvas, 12 × 16 inches




Travel the World Through the Bizarre and Unexpected Sights of ‘Wonders of Street View’

January 24, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of people posted with bird masks

All images via Google Street View

A man with three legs, a vintage car scaling a building, and an unsettling formation of people donning bird masks are a few of the scenarios highlighted in the terrifically bizarre Wonders of Street View. One of the many sites of coder Neal Agarwal, the project showcases photographs of offbeat landmarks, digital glitches, chance encounters, and people who prepare to pose for the famous camera-laden Google Street View cars as they drive by. The playful platform is similarly interactive to allow viewers to explore the surroundings and generates scenes at random, taking visitors from San Francisco to Hesse, Germany, to Samburu, Kenya. Head to Wonders of Street View to traverse the globe one strange sight at a time. (via Waxy)


A photo of a vintage car scaling a building

A photo of a person lounging on a couch in a truck bed

A photo of a spider on a roof

A photo of a person wearing a horse mask at a table

A glitched photo of a person with three legs

A photo of dozens of pigeons in a park

A photo of a Pacman monument



Craft Design

Freewheeling Hares and Bespectacled Kangaroos Hop Into Hugo Horita’s Playful Wooden Menagerie

January 12, 2023

Kate Mothes

A detail of a wooden sculpture carved to look like a sheep with a crocheted sweater on.

All images © Hugo Horita, shared with permission

Although they are carved from timber, the personalities in Hugo Horita’s growing menagerie are far from wooden. An adventurous camel, a sheep in a sweater, and a deer that’s quick on the draw are just a few of the characters the Buenos Aires-based artist has introduced. “I like to bring ideas and shapes to a three-dimensional language, and I chose wood because it is a very noble and warm material,” he tells Colossal.

Trained as an illustrator, Horita’s work often rests squarely in the digital realm, and he sought a creative outlet that involved using his hands. While some ideas can lead to a new piece in just a few days, sometimes the process takes months, beginning with a sketch on paper or a virtual vector image. He then carves the toy-like sculptures with an emphasis on the details of the grain to accentuate joints and muscles and often incorporates other found elements like pencils. Preferring to use scrap pieces that others have thrown away, which allows for various tones and textures, Horita completes each animal with the cartoonish addition of wheels, spectacles, or skis.

Find more of the spirited critters on Behance and Instagram.


A wooden sculpture of a deer with pencils for antlers.

Wooden sculptures of a sheep and a camel. The sheep has a crocheted sweater on, and the camel has mountains for humps and is wearing skis.

Sheep sweater made in collaboration with cAlma mía

Two wooden sculptures of leaping hares.

A wooden sculpture of a joey in its mother's pouch, and both animals are wearing white glasses.

A wooden sculpture of a rocking horse with two horses facing each other on the same rocker.

A wooden sculpture of a moose with a pick comb for antlers.

A detail of a wooden sculpture of a moose.

A wooden sculpture of hare holding wheels.

A wooden sculpture of a sloth laying upside-down in a chair.

A detail of a wooden sculpture of a sloth laying upside-down in a chair.

A wooden sculpture of a deer with antlers made of pencils.