silhouettes

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Art

Moonlit Forests, Fish, and Branches Populate Kirie Silhouettes Cut from a Single Sheet of Paper

April 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Kanako Abe, shared with permission

From a single sheet of white paper, Kanako Abe (previously) carves exquisite silhouettes of children and young adults who are awash in seas of fish or occupied by quiet campouts. She utilizes the traditional Japanese art form called Kirie—which translates to cut picture—a technique that Abe begins with a sketch before slicing the delicate material with a variety of knives. “I don’t have a chance to change the design once I start cutting, so I find it challenging,” the Seattle-based artist says. “I have to think of the right patterns, controlling negative space, and make sure all the lines are connected so the art won’t fall apart once it’s finished.” A single piece can take anywhere from six to 60 hours to complete.

Abe shifted to full-time in 2020 and now balances her practice between commissions and ongoing personal projects, a few of which she’ll be sharing soon on Instagram. No matter the context, each artwork reflects a broader connection to nature and its ability to provide an escape from the complications and heartbreak of the current moment. “I find the process of art-making is a way for me to meditate on everyday thoughts and emotions, and it’s much easier for me to express complex feelings or emotions visually than verbally,” she tells Colossal. “The cycle of nature teaches us about the power of letting go or accept things as they are and that there’s a silver lining in everything.”

If you’re in San Francisco, you can see Abe’s intricate portraits at her September solo show at Rare Device. She’ll also be included in a group exhibition at Today’s Gallery in Ehime, Japan, which opens in December.

 

 

 



Animation Illustration

Paper Illustrations and GIFs Explore the Body and Mind in New Work by Eiko Ojala

March 6, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation for "Life After a hear Attack at Age 38"

New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation for “Life After a hear Attack at Age 38”

New Zealand and Estonia-based illustrator Eiko Ojala (previously) creates cut paper illustrations that present shadow and depth through creative layering of colorful pieces of paper. Recently, his editorial illustrations have been focused on the mind and body, like a cut paper GIF he created for a story on heart attacks in the New York Times. Others, like two Washington Post illustrations, attempt to uncover the thoughts and feelings sequestered in children’s minds by layering images inside the shape of a boy’s profile. You can see more of Ojala’s designs on his Instagram and Behance.

Washington Post cover illustration for "Kids Special."

Washington Post cover illustration for “Kids Special.”

New York Times Sunday Review illustration for "I Did a Terrible Thing. I Needed to Apologize".

New York Times Sunday Review illustration for “I Did a Terrible Thing. I Needed to Apologize.”

New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation and spot illustration for "Life After a hear Attack at Age 38"

New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation and spot illustration for “Life After a hear Attack at Age 38”

 

New Yorker illustrations for "Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship."

New Yorker illustrations for “Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship.”

Washington Post cover illustration for "Kids Special."

Washington Post cover illustration for “Kids Special.”

New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation and spot illustration for "Life After a hear Attack at Age 38"

New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation and spot illustration for “Life After a hear Attack at Age 38”

 

 



Art

Figures in Silhouette March Across Building Facades in New Murals by David de la Mano

November 27, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Spanish artist David de la Mano (previously) depicts anonymous hordes of soldier-like silhouettes marching to unknown destinations inside a dystopian world. The figures have arms and legs that appear to morph into tree limbs and roots—a reference to displacement—while some appear to have the heads of animals like birds or dogs. His most recent pieces appear to consciously draw connections to the ongoing refugee crisis. The artist is currently in London ahead of an upcoming solo show titled “Adrift” at Hang-Up Pictures. Via Hang-Up:

In a world of those forced to flee, of poverty, of war and violence, David de la Mano paints his haunting figures as shadows looking for their place in the world. All united, they are travelling to a destination unknown. Boats with broken sails and women with animal heads drift without direction but are all linked by an uncertain journey.

Adrift portrays the anonymous epic of travelling on a rough ship, or passing through reinforced wire fences – all characteristics of the current fear of some nations to the refugee invasion. Adrift analyses the timeless concept of migration and group behaviour. It refers to the drifting movement that characterises the migrant’s journey and the determination and strength that grows and develops when your house and your neighbourhood have already been disfigured.

De la Mano is producing a number of new acrylic, coffee, and ink works for the Adrift show, with a portion of proceeds from one edition to be donated to the Refugee Community Kitchen. Seen here are a number of recent murals in London, Germany, and Italy, with additional murals on his blog. (via StreetArtNews)

 

 



Craft Photography

New Paper Cutouts by 'Paperboyo' Turn Landmarks Across the Globe Into Scenes of Temporary Amusement

October 9, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

London-based photographer Rich McCor, or paperboyo (previously) travels across the globe giving creative updates to buildings, bridges, and signs through the use of simple paper cutouts. By placing a black design in the foreground of his image, London’s Tower Bridge is instantly transformed into a looping roller coaster, and a Canadian building miraculously appears like a lengthy accordion. Although many of McCor’s pictures engage with architectural elements, the paper artist also makes use of the natural environment as a creative backdrop for his paper works. Recently he published a book based on his cutout journeys, titled Around the World in Cut-Outs. You can see more of his photographic collages on Instagram.

 

 



Art

A Human-Shaped Pool Reflects the Sky Over Tbilisi by Icy & Sot

June 4, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Brooklyn-based artist duo Icy & Sot were recently in Tbilisi, Georgia where they installed this temporary piece titled “Nature’s Reflection” as part of Art-Villa Garikula. You can follow more of their recent work on Instagram, and also check out their recent book Let Her be Free that features over a decade of stencil work and street installations.

 

 



Photography

Photographer Nicolas Bouvier Shoots Figures in Silhouette Against Mysterious and Foreboding Landscapes

February 4, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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In what could easily have been snapshots of a normal day at the beach or a hike through the woods, these photos by Nicolas Bouvier (previously) portray figures exploring the Pacific Northwest in stark, mysterious contrast. The French art director and concept designer is a master of teasing unusual scenes from breathtaking landscapes around the coast of Washington. By placing himself in foggy atmospheres and shooting against the sun, his photography turns passersby (and often images of his own children) into anonymous silhouettes. Instead of lugging around lots of equipment, Bouvier carries only a smaller and relatively inexpensive point-and-shoot Panasonic ZS40 or a Leica XVario, preferring ergonomy, simplicity, and design over more elaborate setups. You can explore more of his recent work on Flickr.

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