Home Is Where the Doodles Are: Playful Drawings Crawl Across Every Inch of a 12-Room House
Two years, 900 liters of white paint, 401 cans of black spray paint, 286 bottles of black drawing paint, and 2,296 pen nibs later, and artist Sam Cox has completed his most monumental and immersive project to date. Cox, who works as Mr. Doodle, is known for his quirky drawings of squiggly lines and cartoon-like characters, and he recently converted his home in Tenterden, Kent, into a monochromatic playhouse of animals, shapes, and patterns that sprawl across every inch of the space. The lively renderings cover the exterior and surrounding landscape, the 12-room interior, and personal items like bedsheets, framed photos, and even the artist’s clothes.
Now that the project is complete, Mr. Doodle plans to move into the eclectic space, which you can virtually tour in the mesmerizing timelapse comprised of 1,800 photos shown above. Visit the artist’s Instagram to see what he transforms next.
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In ‘A Sense of Scale,’ Roman De Giuli’s Elaborate Topographies Made of Pigments Nod to Hollywood Special Effects
The sweeping topography of German photographer Roman De Giuli’s “A Sense of Scale” suggests rivers coursing around islands, lava flows, or clouds moving over land masses as if seen from Earth’s atmosphere. Look a little closer, however, and you will find these effervescent terrains are composed of paint, powders, and water that the artist applies with droppers to the surface of paper and sets into motion with small doses of air. Known for elaborate timelapses imitative of satellite imagery, De Giuli’s work harnesses the power of high-definition photography to document the voluptuous movement of fluid pigments.
Using a custom lens setup to zoom in and out, the piece took about a year to complete and was filmed in 8K resolution with the aid of several macro lenses. The title is a nod to the 2011 documentary “Sense of Scale” by Berton Pierce, which chronicled the world of Hollywood special effects as CGI had begun to render scale miniatures obsolete in the film industry. Struck by the detail and beauty of camera effects and the ability to transform objects on screen, De Giuli explains, “I want to emphasize the meaning of handmade visuals and the effort it takes to stage sceneries on a small scale.” You can discover more on Instagram and his website.
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Chaotic Facial Markings Express the Wildly Varied Emotions of Reen Barrera’s Imaginative Ohala Dolls
Growing up in the Phillipines in the 90’s, Reen Barrera would often repurpose scraps of fabric and wood into imaginative figures that became central to his play. The constructions were stand-ins for what the Filipino artist considers a “toy-deprived” childhood, and today, Barrera continues the visual language of those early sculptures in his recurring Ohala characters.
Often dressed in stripes and animalistic patchwork hoods, the wildly expressive figures are covered in a chaotic mishmash of symbols and patterns. Barrera likens these markings to the idiom “it’s written all over your face,” a concept that, similar to his earlier figures, continues to ground his practice. “Regardless of what we say, our true feelings can still be emancipated by our facial expressions,” the artist says. “For me, it’s a silent way of communicating something without noise.”
Barrera pairs this concern with fleeting emotion and more personal experience with larger themes about class and social standing. While some of the wooden figures are rich with colorful fabrics and splotches of acrylic, oil, and aerosol paints, others are more minimal. “One thing that I want to emphasize is the amount of detail each Ohlala artwork has. Like humans, some have little while some have more,” he shares, explaining further:
Some people are born rich, some are born middle class, some are born poor. But the common ground for everyone is, we all have to deal with it… I cover all the Ohlala dolls heads with canvas cloth to give a freedom to paint their own symbols on their heads, as if they are designing their own fate. I guess that’s what we all have in common; the power to make things happen for ourselves.
In a collaboration with Thinkspace Projects, Barrera’s solo show Children of Divorce is on view through January 15, 2023, at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum. For more of the artist’s works, visit his site and Instagram.
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Sculptural Portraits Revive Used Paintbrushes with Social Commentary and Historical Details
San Francisco-based artist Rebecca Szeto (previously) applies a heavy dose of social commentary to her ongoing Paintbrush Portraits. Through whittled busts and oil-based figurative renderings, Szeto alludes to a wide array of historical moments, significant figures, and issues that continue to impact the world today.
She transforms the used tools with hard bristles and stained ferrules—she’s committed to an ecologically-conscious practice that repurposes materials already available—into poetic works that are subversive and metaphorical. The optic handle of “Tapada Americana,” for example, references the Peruvian tradition of women wearing a skirt and mantel that fully covered their bodies, “leaving visible a single cycloptic eye,” the artist writes. “Differing from its cousins the burka and the hijab, it signified a level of discreet domestic freedom and sexual intrigue for women.”
Questions about modesty and dignity continue to influence Szeto’s practice, and she shares with Colossal:
I find myself circling this notion of grace, as the innate virtues and values we possess as humans. For me, grace signals our ability to keep an emotional distance that allows us the fortitude and creative agency to transform and re-imagine the world around us. My interest lies in how we transcend challenging times, linguistic labels and offer up teaching moments for serious play and energetic renewal.
For more of Szeto’s works that span painting, installation, and other mediums, visit her site and Instagram.
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Ornate Painted Patterns Conceal Photographer Cecilia Paredes Against Textile Backdrops
Peruvian artist Cecilia Paredes continues her ongoing series of camouflaged self-portraits with deceptive new works that leave only her hair, eyes, and ears untouched. Set against lavish backdrops printed with birds in shades of blue, floral motifs, and ornate flourishes, Paredes paints her skin and positions herself in a precise alignment with the chosen pattern, disappearing among the colorful landscapes. Each work, which the Lima-born artist refers to as “photo performances,” considers how individual identities are informed by natural environments and the broader cultural milieu. Explore an archive of Paredes’s lavish portraits at Ruiz-Healy Art, Artsy, and Instagram.
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A Mesmerizing Short Film Imitates Water Flowing Across the Earth with Ink and Dried Pigments
You’d be forgiven for mistaking Roman De Giuli’s new short film for aerial footage of Earth’s outer crust. As its name suggests, though, “SATELLIKE” is a mesmerizing timelapse that mimics water gushing through canyons and seeping over mineral-speckled regions with liquid ink.
The German filmmaker, who’s behind Terracollage and this hypnotic work about magnetism, created the topographic features on paper using sand, jade, malachite, and a variety of historic pigments dried to imitate their counterparts embedded within the planet. Mixing natural hues and jewel tones, the substances were reconstituted with water and sour flow release mediums, creating a stunning imitation of seismic shifts on Earth.
In total, the project took four months to complete before it was unveiled at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. “The results look different from my usual approach, way more realistic and less otherworldly. I was excited about the aesthetics of the images and decided to do an individual piece. Although this is the final result for now, it feels more like I’m at the very beginning,” De Giuli writes on Vimeo.
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