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Art

A Frozen Installation by Azuma Makoto Preserves a Vibrant Floral Arrangement in Ice

January 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Shiinoki/AMKK, shared with permission

Japanese artist Azuma Makoto (previously) is known for shifting the contexts in which we typically view florals—think encasing bouquets in blocks of ice or suspending them in the stratosphere—through installations and designs that blur the boundaries between art and botany. Shown here is a 2018 project titled “Frozen Flowers” from Makoto’s In Bloom series. The undertaking brought the artist to Notsuke Peninsula in Hokkaido where he doused open blossoms and greenery in water. Positioned against the stark, snowy landscape, the resulting arrangement is frozen in its original splendor, allowing the vibrancy of the flowers to peek through the icicles.

“The place where this installation was held in Hokkaido is also called the end of the world since blighted pine trees are usually spread out there and that place freezes over in winter,” says Makoto’s studio. “It was the series of how Azuma pursued unknown possibilities of flowers and how flowers express themselves under this condition.”

More images and a short video of Makoto’s process are available on his site, and you can follow his latest works on Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)

 

 

 



Art

Australian Plants Grow from the Crevices of Jamie North's Living Sculptures

December 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Rock Melt” (2015), cement, blast furnace slag, expanded glass, iron oxide, steel, Australian native plants, 350-550 x 60 x 60 centimeters. All images © Jamie North, shared with permission

Embedded within the eroded cement and marble pillars of artist Jamie North are a host of plants native to Australia. Kangaroo vines, Port Jackson figs, and kidney weeds wrap themselves around steel cables and grow from the crevices of the cracked stone forms, juxtaposing the industrial, human-made sculptures with organic elements. The lush greenery infuses the otherwise dilapidated structures with new life, which elicits a larger theme of regeneration.

In a note to Colossal, North writes that he begins each vertical work with a geometric cast evoking the stately shapes of the tower and column. When complete, the size of the sculptures ambiguously references various architectural elements. “Both tower and column are often associated with progress, triumph, and hubris,” he says. “These associations are addressed in my work by preemptive material erosion making the object conducive to plant sustainment, growth, and eventual merger with the inorganic form.”

View more of North’s living sculptures on his site and Instagram.

 

“Succession” (2016), cement, steel, blast furnace slag, recycled expanded glass, coal ash, oyster shell, organic matter, Australian plants, 400 x 90 and 450 x 90 centimeters. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery

“Succession” (2016), cement, steel, blast furnace slag, recycled expanded glass, coal ash, oyster shell, organic matter, Australian plants, 400 x 90 and 450 x 90 centimeters

“Terraforms” (2014), cement, marble waste, limestone, coal ash, organic matter, and various Australian plants. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery

Left: “Succession” (2016), cement, steel, blast furnace slag, recycled expanded glass, coal ash, oyster shell, organic matter, Australian plants, 400 x 90 and 450 x 90 centimeters. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery. Right: “Rock Melt” (2015), cement, blast furnace slag, expanded glass, iron oxide, steel, Australian native plants, 350-550 x 60 x 60 centimeters

“Terraforms” (2014), cement, marble waste, limestone, coal ash, organic matter, and various Australian plants. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery

“Terraforms” (2014), cement, marble waste, limestone, coal ash, organic matter, and various Australian plants. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery

“Rock Melt” (2015), cement, blast furnace slag, expanded glass, iron oxide, steel, Australian native plants, 350-550 x 60 x 60 centimeters

 

 



Art Craft Design

Quirky Faces and Limber Vases Comprise Madriguera Workshop's Minimal Ceramics

December 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Madriguera Workshop

Madriguera Workshop’s eccentric characters might be the quietest guests at your next dinner party. Helmed by Lydia de la Piñera and Luis Llamas, the Galicia-based studio handcrafts a range of anthropomorphized clay pieces that are shaped into playful pots, cups, and serving ware. Tousled chives and spiked succulents become hair for the two-legged planters, while the face collection features a subtle, elegant figure with a long nose and crooked smile.

Madriguera’s face tray just was named a finalist in the 2020 Etsy Design Awards, and a few pieces are still available on Etsy and in the workshop’s store. To follow new releases and stock updates, head to Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation Design

Artificial Blooms: Digital Botanics Showcase the Fractals, Tessellations, and Repetitive Features of the Natural World

November 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Shy Studio, shared with permission

From tessellations to spirals and symmetry, the Cologne-based duo behind Shy Studio has been reproducing the mesmerizing patterns of the natural world through a series of lifelike botanics. Artificial Bloom is an ongoing project by Misha Shyukin and Hannes Hummel that features still-life florals and animated clips of petals slowly unfurling.

The digital renderings showcase the complexity of organic structures while also highlighting the fractals and endless intricacies inherent to nature’s designs. “We are only two artists, and when one of us had some spare time, we would pick a flower or plant from our Pinterest board as a base and start developing our own artistic interpretation of it,” Shyukin shares with Colossal. “It was fascinating to find that a lot of floral and plant structures follow certain mathematical rules, which we could replicate and apply to our own structures.”

Digital skeletons, various stages of progress, and the complete florals are available for perusal on Behance, where you also can follow Shyukin and Hummel’s additions to the growing collection.

 

 

 



Illustration

Painted on Vintage Postcards, Flora and Fauna Celebrate Farming Traditions and Wildlife of the Midwest

November 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Diana Sudyka, shared with permission

Twenty-seven years ago while studying at the University of Illinois, illustrator Diana Sudyka (previously) retrieved a bundle of postcards from a dumpster. The ephemeral correspondence revealed a relationship between farmers and workers from the Harvard area and a man named John Dwyer, either their accountant or investor who lived throughout Chicago, Cicero, and Berwyn. Dated from 1939 to 1942, the short letters generally contained information about livestock sales and farm expenses.

Now based in the Chicago area, Sudyka repurposes the envelopes as canvases for her watercolor and gouache paintings of flora and fauna native to the Midwest. “I have a strong attachment to the envelopes for various reasons, not least of which is that I was born and raised in Illinois, and spent a good deal of time in rural areas of the state,” she shares with Colossal. The penmanship, patina, and markings on the paper all inform her decisions to reflect a particular shrub or beetle duo amongst the remaining postmark and stamp. “I am drawn to the beauty of the handwriting on the envelopes, and the variation in the inks used,” she says, also noting her affinity for the assembled artworks of late artist Joseph Cornell.

Through delicate depictions of squirrels and long-legged herons, the illustrator connects her own experience enjoying the region’s bucolic settings with the decades-old content of the letters. “I often think about the wildlife that I saw as a child in those rural areas, unaware at the time of how much agriculture had already altered the land. And now as an adult, so much of both wildlife and those family farms are gone. The envelope paintings are my homage to both,” she says.

Prints of Sudyka’s postcard illustrations, which you can follow on Instagram, are available on her site.

 

Flying squirrel

Heron

Grey tree frog

Barn owl

Left: Milkweed. Right: Pawpaw tree

Blue salamander

Underwing moth

 

 



Design Science

Dive Into the Art of Aquascaping With a Volcanic Aquarium That Fits on a Desk

November 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

Caring for pets has a lengthy list of physical and mental health benefits, and studies show that folks who aren’t quite ready to commit to a rambunctious pup can find similar solace in a marine pal. The aquatic enthusiast behind Foo the Flowerhorn recently released a video series documenting the DIY building process for a home ecosystem, in addition to capturing the organisms’ intrepid natures. Conveying thoughtful methods for balancing inter-species relationships, the tutorial is also an example of aquascaping, or the art of aquarium design (dive into the world of competitive aquascaping here).

Beginning with a 7.6-gallon aquarium, the video chronicles the assembly of a volcano-shaped rock formation, which serves as a filter despite being enveloped by algae, and a custom-built cover to keep the adventurous creatures inside. Every species is introduced to the ecosystem in a specific order to ensure their chances of survival. The plants, snails, Amano shrimp, and tetras are added early on, with the territorial Siamese Fighting Fish following after ten days. “Adding a betta into this mix is risky. He is a chirpy little fellow, and I’m a little worried about the shrimp, especially. He has tried to catch the tetras here and there but soon realized that there is absolutely no chance of him catching one,” the designer said. (via The Kids Should See This)