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Art Science

Energetic Avians Peer from Vintage Book Pages in Detailed Paintings by Craig Williams

October 4, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Green Rosella” (2022), acrylic on vintage page from ‘Atlas of Tasmania’ (1965). All images © Craig Williams, shared with permission

Peering out from the pages of vintage atlases, textbooks, and field guides, Launceston, Tasmania-based artist Craig Williams assembles a menagerie of vibrant avians inspired by Australia’s vastly diverse wildlife and ecosystems. Spurred by an interest in the natural world, his past work in a wildlife park and as an illustrator with a regional museum specializing in spiders and insects amplified his interest in drawing and painting the natural world. The accuracy of scientific illustrations translated into a flourishing interest in birds, which he began to pair with diagrams, text, and sheet music to draw connections between geography, wildlife, and science.

Williams carefully chooses the pages for their connection to each specimen, such as a map of Tasmania that provides the background for a green rosella, a species endemic to the island. “There will always be a relationship between the bird and the page,” Williams tells Colossal. “[It is] sometimes direct, like the use of the field guides, but even these pay homage to the work of the artists and researchers who create these guides both presently and in the past.” In another piece, a peregrine glides in the foreground of a dictionary’s architectural illustrations, recognizing how the falcon has adapted to urban environments by using tall buildings as nesting places instead of cliffs.

In addition to historical connotations, Williams explores the physics of sound and light. Music pages reference passerines, the order of perching birds to which songbirds belong, emphasizing “the use of song by the birds for breeding, socialisation, territory control, etc., but also bringing our relationship with music and song to these recognisable birds that frequent our gardens,” he says. “Other examples include using old physics textbook pages on light, relating to the color in birds as well as light wavelengths in terms of iridescence, or sound wavelengths in terms of song.”

In collaboration with the podcast “The Science of Birds,” Williams paints a species mentioned in each episode, which are available for sale on the podcast’s shop with half of the proceeds donated to BirdLife International’s conservation efforts. You can find more of the artist’s work on his website and on Instagram.

 

“Superb Fairy-Wren Pair” (2022), acrylic on vintage page from ‘The Popular Encyclopaedia or Conversations Lexicon’ (1851)

“Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo” (2022), acrylic on vintage page from ‘What Bird is That?’ by Neville W. Cayley (1956)

Left: “Superb Fairy-Wren” (2021), acrylic on vintage page from ‘A Handbook of Tasmanian Birds and it’s Dependencies’ (1910). Right: “Orange Chat” (2022), acrylic on vintage page from ‘What Bird is That?’ by Neville W. Cayley (1956)

“Peregrine Falcon” (2022), acrylic on vintage page from ‘Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language’ (1933)

“Scarlet Robin” (2022), acrylic on vintage page from ‘Leider Ohne Worte’ by Mendelssohn (1800)

Left: “Fairy Penguin” (2021), acrylic on vintage page from ‘A Handbook of Tasmanian Birds and it’s Dependencies’ (1910). Right: “Splendid Fairy-Wren and Banksia Flower” (2022), acrylic on vintage page from ‘What Bird is That?’ by Neville W. Cayley (1951)

“Kookaburra” (2021), acrylic on vintage page from ‘What Bird is That?’ by Neville W. Cayley (1953)

 

 



Art Illustration

Figures and Events Are Transfixed by Time in Pep Carrió’s Extensive Daily Visual Diaries

July 21, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Pep Carrió, shared with permission. Photographs by Antonio Fernández

In 2007, Madrid-based artist and illustrator Pep Carrió’s expansive diary project began as a challenge with a simple premise: to draw something every day. No matter what materials were at hand and without any predetermined theme or subject matter, he took a game-like approach to see if he could accomplish filling an entire Moleskine datebook throughout the year. The numerous editions that have followed feature a dazzling array of scenes fashioned from marker, pencil, tempera, pen, ink, collage, and found materials.

Carrió’s stream-of-consciousness process has led to a collection that ranges from abstract flora to silhouetted and patterned figures to surreal vessels and landscapes. Originally, the volumes contained one drawing each day with complementary images on facing pages, but in recent years, the artist has begun to more consistently fill the entire spread with a single image, creating bold compositions that play with the symmetry of the book and the confines of its edges. Imagery of sprawling tree branches, obscured faces and masks, and bodies in precarious circumstances strike a metaphorical chord, exploring human society and psychology. His method of completing a drawing each day is itself an exercise in memory, as the diaries have accumulated records of the artist’s thoughts over time and unfurl into a personal archive.

Carrió currently has work on view as part of From Spain with Design traveling throughout Spain during 2022 and Play with Design at the Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporánea in Valencia through October 23. You can find more information on his website and follow the visual diary project on Instagram.

 

2013

2007

2010

2018

2020

 

 



Art

Cinematic Journeys Illustrated in Hand Painted Maps by Andrew DeGraff

July 27, 2019

Andrew LaSane

The Wizard of Oz

Maine-based artist, illustrator, and pop culture cartographer Andrew DeGraff creates detailed maps that outline the movements of major characters in iconic movies. Made by hand using gouache and ink on paper, each of DeGraff’s maps are meticulously planned and can take up to 1,000 hours to complete.

DeGraff has been working as an illustrator for 15 years. He began his “Cinemaps” series in 2011 and has since published a book that includes art inspired by Back to the FutureKing KongThe Shining, Pulp Fiction, and other classic movies. Speaking to Colossal about his process, DeGraff said that it doesn’t matter if the film is a favorite that he has seen several times, or if it is one that he is less familiar with—the approach is the same. While carefully watching the movie a few more times, he deconstructs each scene and character journey (which are color-coded in the maps) to create a flowchart. “Then I start building my reference file from film stills, behind the scenes shots of the sets, location shots, Google Earth—even LEGO recreations if [they’re] helpful,” he explains. He then creates a blocking sketch before going in with pencils and paint.

“The smallest ones are 50–80 hours, and the largest go up to 600–1,000 hrs,” DeGraff said. “It’s often tedious but meditative work and I’ve come to love it. And I get to listen to a lot of audiobooks and music while I work since I don’t have to fully concentrate while I spend a day painting 800 trees or something.” To see more of DeGraff’s attention to detail in painted trees and movie landmarks, follow him on Instagram.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (with key)

The Shining

The Lord of the Rings

Fargo

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

The Silence of the Lambs

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (detail)

Labyrinth

 

 



Art

Playful Illustrative Characters Span Brightly Painted Walls by Joachim

July 20, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Belgian street artist Joachim paints vibrant murals that look as if they were torn from the pages of a very large children’s book. His illustrative style brings humor and color to walls and structures in cities across the world. Joachim first discovered graffiti and street art as a six-year-old child in Antwerp. As an adult, he began experimenting with various styles both on walls and on canvases as a way to grow and develop his own aesthetic, separate from the work he had done in art school.

From 88-foot-tall underpass pillars in Austria to one-story quickies, what connects each of the artist’s murals is his use of bold lines, dynamic poses, contrast, and the playful spirit that he infuses into every piece. Two recent murals in Antwerp, where much of his art can be found on walls throughout the city, were made in collaboration with local schoolchildren. Joachim created the outlines of a stylized horse and bull, and then kids held their (gloved) hands up to be spray painted, their silhouettes creating the textured surface of each animal.

To see more of Joachim’s fun paintings and for updates on the two currently-secret solo gallery shows that he is currently working on, give him a follow and a like on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Illustration

Watercolor Paintings of Imagined Trash Structures Packed With Advertising by Alvaro Naddeo

May 19, 2019

Andrew LaSane

“First Class”

Brazilian artist Alvaro Naddeo‘s watercolors imagine a dystopian world left in ruin by overconsumption and littered with the branding and logos of the past. Store walls, rusted out vehicles, and arcade machines gain new value as building materials and are combined with other objects and parts to form pop surrealist stacked structures.

Naddeo tells Colossal that he starts with a loose sketch by hand. He then uses 3D software to help define a plausible shape for his imagined constructions, and creates a reference composition in Photoshop. After years of practice, Naddeo shares that he is able to recreate the texture, color, and shadows of various building materials like brick and concrete from memory. He uses reference photos to help flesh out small detail items, which are similarly rendered in watercolor. As for the specific brands, Naddeo says that he pulls from his youth. “I think about the stickers and posters I used to have in my teenage room or the group of brands I used to like at a certain time. I also research at old magazines and look at the ads that shared a specific era. It’s a very fun and nostalgic exercise.”

In a statement on his website, the artist credits his career in advertising over the past 20 years as the inspiration for his work and for showing him the “duality” of such imagery, “both desirable and despicable.” To see more of Alvaro Naddeo’s work and to learn about his upcoming shows with Thinkspace Gallery, follow him on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

“First Class” (detail)

“First Class” (detail)

“One of a Kind”

“Gambiarra”

“The Flat”

“Escargot”

 

 



Art Illustration

Ceramic Dishes Drawn as Rippling Pools of Culture by Brendan Lee Satish Tang

March 17, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Untitled (Spode) 2012

For his “Swimmers” print series, artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang transformed traditional blue and white ceramic dishware patterns into a symbol for culture: the complex, learned, and shared pool that surrounds us all. Each intricately drawn work features two swimmers (parental figures and children, siblings, and peers) who are seemingly unaffected as they attempt to navigate the rippling waters together.

“Untitled (Ming 1)” 2012

Born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents, Tang received a formal art education in the United States and in Canada, where he is a naturalized citizen. He has lectured at conferences and academic institutions across North America, and his work has been exhibited and collected at museums and galleries across both nations. Currently based in Vancouver, Tang works primarily in clay to explore themes of tradition and culture with a particular interest in cultural appropriation and hybridity, which he says reflects his own “ambiguous cultural identity.”

The crosshatching and subdued blue tone give Tang’s drawings a sketch-like quality, while the morphing of the ceramic waves show a deeper level of planning and precision. A play on the idiom “a fish out of water,” Tang writes on his website that “we are the fish,” adding that humankind is “always finding our way through our greater culture.” Brendan Lee Satish Tang is represented by Gallery Jones in Vancouver and Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland. Check out his website to see where he will be showing next, and follow him on Instagram for closer looks at his latest work.

“Untitled (Delftse Pauw)” 2012

“Untitled (Ming 2)” 2012

“Untitled (Royal Delft)” 2012