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Art

Banksy Creates Bob Ross Narrated Process Video of New Work Depicting Oscar Wilde Escaping Prison

March 4, 2021

Christopher Jobson

What begins as a soft-spoken clip of America’s most iconic TV painting instructor, Bob Ross from his Joy of Painting show, suddenly shifts into a frenetic and extremely rare behind-the-scenes video of Banksy creating his latest work in Reading, Berkshire. Titled “Create Escape,” the clip was just posted to the artist’s social media channels and depicts the real-time creation of a stenciled artwork of a prisoner escaping the high, red brick walls of HM Prison Reading (formerly known as Reading Gaol). Unlike the bright studio lights that illuminated Ross’s bucolic landscapes, “Create Escape” captures the frantic yet precise execution of a work done in near darkness by an artist completely governed by police response time.

The expansive and unblemished prison wall was a daring and perfect spot for a Banksy piece. It’s best known for its most famous inmate: Oscar Wilde served two years in the prison from 1895-1897 for the charge of “gross indecency” for being gay. The work is clearly a tribute to the poet, as the escape mechanism appears to be a long strand of paper emerging from a typewriter in place of the usual bed sheets. Wilde recounted aspects of his imprisonment in the poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” which centers largely on the execution of Charles Thomas Wooldridge.

 

Still from “Create Escape”

Still from “Create Escape”

Still from “Create Escape”

Still from “Create Escape”

 

 



Art

Clothesline Farm Animals Graze the Countryside in Playful Illusions by Helga Stentzel

February 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

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

Instead of tossing an old pair of pants or T-shirt, Helga Stentzel puts her tired garments out to pasture. So far, the London-based artist has added Pegasus and Smoothie, a pair of clothesline equine and bovine, to her herd of playful interventions hung in bucolic landscapes. Stenzel’s practice, which she terms “household surrealism,” is derived from her childhood in Siberia, where she spent hours surveying her grandmother’s carpet, birch logs, and random objects for recognizable forms, including “a stack of buckets resembling the tower of Pisa,” she tells Colossal.

Prints of the laundry creatures are available in Stentzel’s shop, and you can follow additions to the drove—the artist currently is creating a few more farm animals while braving the -32 degree weather in Russia—on Instagram, where you’ll also find a variety of quirky food-based characters. (via Laughing Squid)

 

“Smoothie”

 

 



Photography

Hilarity Ensues as Everything Goes Catastrophically Wrong in an Ad for Etisalat

February 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

Strap on a helmet and fasten your kneepads before watching this ad for international telecommunications giant, Etisalat. Nalle Sjoblad’s “Moonwalk” uses brutal Home Alone-esque sequences of poor planning, office rage, and failure to appreciate even basic spatial relationships in order to remind us that the most uncomfortable, humiliating scenarios only last for a moment. Based in Helsinki, Sjoblad approaches a variety of commercial and personal projects with his distinct style of humor, many of which you can watch on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Illustration

Quirky Illustrations by Christoph Niemann Reinterpret Household Objects in Clever Contexts

February 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Christoph Niemann, shared with permission

For Christoph Niemann (previously), all it takes is a halved apple or pliers lying around his studio to spur a quirky drawing featuring the random object. The illustrator is known for his Sunday Sketches, a weekly drawing series, that play with scale and position. Imbued with humor, the cleverly arranged compositions turn a red pencil into a megaphone or a splayed book into a cat’s whiskers.

Although Niemann usually lives in New York for part of the year, he’s been working from his studio in Berlin since the onset of the pandemic. “I’m spending a lot of time just drawing—cityscapes, animals I saw at the zoo (one of the few places that are still open to visit), and turning these drawings into silkscreens and linocuts,” he tells Colossal.

Prior to lockdown, he was visiting cities like London and Tallin creating visual essays, and although he misses travel, he’s enjoyed the increased focus and routine of recent months. “Since March last year, I’ve been at my drawing desk almost every single day. The things I do depend on input and inspiration. But craft, attention to detail, and routine are hugely important, as well. These latter aspects benefit a lot from having such a plain and steady schedule,” he says.

Niemann’s recent projects include a vibrant cover for The New Yorker and his newly released book, Pianoforte, which speaks to his experience learning to play the piano as an adult. You can pick up a copy, which is an extension of this interactive feature that ran in The New York Times Magazine a few months ago, in Niemann’s shop, where he also sells originals, prints, and some of his other books. Follow his Sunday Sketches and other illustrations on Instagram,

 

 

 



Art Design

Demented Toys by Obvious Plant Confront Harsh Realities and the Mundanity of Life

February 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Obvious Plant

Unless you want a distraught child, double-check the packaging of your next purchase in case you accidentally snag a one-off toy by Jeff Wysaski, aka Obvious Plant. For years, he’s been littering supermarket and drugstore shelves with his action figures and small games that cleverly comment on capitalism and the harsh realities we all experience, from a birthday for one—it “includes one party blower because that is all you will need”—to a “childless couple” riding matching jet skis. Sometimes parodying pop culture, the elaborate designs are paired with witty copy and a slew of intentional spelling errors, including warnings that “everybody dies, even bird.”

Many of the subversive products, shirts, and other goods are available in the Obvious Plant shop, although they sell out quickly. To stay up-to-date on the latest designs, follow Wysaski on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Duplicate Limbs and Unusual Mashups Revitalize Vintage Ceramic Creatures by Artist Debra Broz

January 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Paradigm Gallery

Simultaneously adorable and bizarre, Debra Broz’s porcelain creatures breathe new life into antique knick-knacks. The Los Angeles-based artist (previously) carefully gathers discarded figurines that she separates and reassembles into humorous and unusual sculptures: an entire flock of ducklings balances on just two feet, a hooved cat carries its equine baby, and tree branches sprout from a lounging ballerina.

Broz’s hybrid animals are included in Salvage, a group exhibition curated by Colossal’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Christopher Jobson at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia. Through the work of three artists and pieces from the Recycled Artist in Residency Program, Salvage examines how artists are revitalizing fragments of tradition and culture that were destined to be lost, relegated to the periphery, or buried forever. The show opens on January 22 with a live talk with Jobson, Broz, and artists Yurim Gough and André Schulze—tickets are available on Eventbrite—and runs through February 20. Take a virtual tour on Paradigm’s site.