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Craft

Countless Hand-Scored Notches Comprise Aquatic Sculptures by Lisa Stevens

January 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Lisa Stevens, shared with permission

From her home studio near Bristol, Lisa Stevens designs heavily detailed sculptures that mimic sea life and natural elements. Her small bowls are complete with ridges and plant-like protrusions, while her organ-shaped sculptures are teeming with seemingly endless dots and scores that imitate coral reefs, flowers, minerals, moss, and lichen. Formerly a sculptor for Aardman Animations, Stevens forgoes stamps, texture sheets, or molds to craft each mark with a small set of tools, ensuring no pieces are identical. Most of her works are made of high-fired porcelain clay that becomes translucent when light shines through it. The sculptor often uses stoneware glazes, underglaze, or melted glass to finish her pieces with vibrant pigments.

Stevens said in an artist’s statement that she intends “to highlight the issues that human activity has on the environment. Small differences in each of our behaviours can add up to make a big difference.” More of Steven’s geologically inspired sculptures can be found on Instagram, and some are even available for purchase on Etsy.

 

 



Illustration

Combining Vibrant Shapes and Simple Lines, Illustrator Willian Santiago Evokes Scenes of Brazil

January 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Willian Santiago

With an affinity for bold colors, Willian Santiago documents what he sees around Londrina, the city in southern Brazil where he lives. He utilizes bright blues, greens, and reds to create his illustrations of wild animals and posed female figures that often resemble the geometric shapes and lines of woodblock prints frequently seen in Brazilian art.

“I love exploring,” Santiago said in an interview with WePresent. “It may be the step I spend most of my time on when creating an illustration. Color arouses different feelings in people. I ultimately want my work to create feelings of joy.” With a background in textile and pattern design, the artist says “old Vogue magazine covers, Art Deco and overly posed figures” often serve as inspiration, in addition to being “surrounded by strong women” as a child. Follow Santiago’s striking digital illustrations on Instagram, and check out his available prints on Society6. (via Tu Recepcja)

 

 



Photography

Bare Tree Branches Captured in Layers of Eerie Morning Fog by Michael Schlegel

January 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Michael Schlegel, shared with permission

Berlin-based photographer Michael Schlegel is fascinated by trees and their splaying branches. From his series featuring a Spanish olive grove to another capturing snow-covered trees in Germany, Schlegel consistently documents native plants around the world. The black and white photographs in his recent Fanal series spotlight trees with bare and twisting branches as they are enveloped by thick fog. The uncanny images were taken in the Fanal region of Madeira, Portugal.

The photographer tells Colossal that he visited the area in March 2019, hoping to experience the region’s cloudy weather.

It was only dense fog all day long and from the moment I first arrived at the trees. I photographed there for five consequent days and really enjoyed the atmosphere of walking around lonely, only being able to see what the fog allows me to and being alone with maybe one or a few of these old, mysterious trees at a time.

In each one of his works, Schlegel tries to shoot exactly what he sees on location. “With my photos I also don’t actively try to express an artistic message or interpretation—I rather simply try to show my vision of how I experienced the location,” the photographer writes. Find more of Schlegel’s monochromatic landscape shots on Instagram.

 

 



Craft

Using More Than 4,000 Pieces of Paper, Artist Lisa Lloyd Painstakingly Constructs Birds and Butterflies

December 20, 2019

Grace Ebert

Robin. All images © Lisa Lloyd, shared with permission

Employing tweezers to place each bit of paper, London-based artist Lisa Lloyd (previously) meticulously assembles birds and butterflies. Her realistic sculptures feature geometric pieces that are arranged in a pattern by color and then glued in place. Lloyd’s birds are constructed internally with a card, paper, and tissue paper skeleton before they are outfitted with more than 4,000 individual paper pieces that the artist hand-scores and fringes. Wire covered in tissue paper creates the birds’ feet, and the eyes are Filmo with a high gloss varnish. A recent butterfly sculpture posed a particular challenge, the artist says, because each wing had to be perfectly symmetrical, just like the real-life insect.

“Through practice, I’ve learned how to sculpt the paper so they look like they’re titling and turning their heads, which makes them feel more alive. Also, I try to give the wings the appearance that the birds are ruffling their feathers, also to make them seem more alive,” Lloyd shares with Colossal. It took her about two months to make three birds: the robin, the great spotted woodpecker, and the blue tit, which have found their permanent home perched on willow branches in a glass display, thanks to one of Lloyd’s London-based clients. You can add one of the artist’s vibrant sculptures to your own collection by purchasing from her shop, and follow her latest work on Instagram.

Great spotted woodpecker

Countryfile butterfly

A blue tit (top), great spotted woodpecker (left), and robin (right)

Blue tit

Blue tit

Robin

 

 



Documentary Science

Fantastic Fungi: A New Film Explores Earth’s Vast Network of Mycelium and Mushrooms

December 17, 2019

Grace Ebert

A new film considers how mycelium and mushrooms have created an often-unseen network, similar to an underground internet, that has connected all living beings for the last 3.5 billion years. Featuring conversations with food journalist Eugenia Bone, mycologist Paul Stamets, and writer Michael Pollan, Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us dives into how the diverse underground web creates the soil necessary for plants and trees to root. “It’s amazing what we don’t know about mushrooms. They really are a frontier of knowledge,” Pollan says in the film.

Fantastic Fungi explores seven benefits of the organisms, including those dealing with biodiversity, innovation, food, arts, and mental, physical, and spiritual health. Screenings are scheduled worldwide through February 2020. Follow updates on the film directed by Louie Schwartzberg and the broader fungi movement on Instagram. (Thnx, Laura!)

 

 



Illustration

Artist Yuko Shimizu Utilizes Repetition and Primary Colors in Her Idiosyncratic Illustrations

December 13, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Yuko Shimizu, shared with permission

Award-winning artist Yuko Shimizu describes her detailed illustrations in a note to Colossal as “a bit off, weird, and dreamy.” Her work, which is often centered on but not limited to Japanese culture, frequently employs primary colors and repetitive elements. In one illustration, the artist portrays a marcher wearing a red uniform and blowing into a multiple-belled instrument with blue birds and yellow flowers in the mix; another features a female figure ascending from dark, swirling waters with a mask seemingly ready to be fitted to her face.

Shimizu says her “Blow Up” series was designed originally for a show at the Society of Illustrators where the images first were exhibited stretching from floor to ceiling. One work depicts dozens of legs donning red and white striped socks that are bound together by a thick rope. It’s what Shimizu terms her illustration about “wind blowing up to form a human-storm.” In another piece, a body stands knees pointed inward with just the mouth visible in a blur of red swirls. The series is inspired by multiple definitions of the phrase “blow up.”

The artist has a background in marketing and advertising, and many of the works she produces today are commissioned for an impressive list of clients, including Apple, Microsoft, and Nike. Based in New York City, Shimizu also teaches at the School of Visual Arts. Keep up with all of her unusual imagery on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Dramatic Brush Strokes Energize Trees in Paintings by Adam S. Doyle

December 10, 2019

Grace Ebert

All photographs (c) Adam S. Doyle, shared with permission

Artist Adam S. Doyle (previously) is known for his paintings of birds and other animals that call attention to, rather than mask, his brush strokes. In his latest series, “Night Fall Trees,” Doyle shifts his focus to a different living entity. “By putting trees front and center as subjects, instead of relegating them to the background where they usually are, I’m saying these silent sentinels of our planet deserve our full attention and respect,” the artist shares with Colossal.

Like his other series, “Night Fall Trees” centers on Doyle’s obsession with energy. The swirling tree branches are wound tightly within each other, the tufts of leaves envelop the top branches, and the widespread roots bury themselves into the ground. Inspired by a nighttime glimpse of a well-lit tree last October, Doyle also says this series is about the seasons and the resilience the trees have.

Fall is often associated with colorful foliage, which is best seen during the day. But fall is also a season about transition, heading in for the long nights and bone-chilling cold. Winter is a hard time. Trees get through it, though. These paintings reflect on being ready for what’s to come and like the trees knowing we’ll get through it. There will be blossoming once again in the spring.

Doyle tells Colossal his creative plans include writing fiction and nonfiction. You can keep up with the artist’s latest energized paintings on Facebook. He even has another site for his children’s projects.