snakes

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Photography

Rectangular Black Boxes Enclose Coiling Serpents in Guido Mocafico’s Disorienting Photos

January 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

Atheris squamigera. All images © Guido Mocafico, shared with permission

A puzzling blend of heads, tails, and scales, Guido Mocafico’s Serpens juxtaposes snakes’ coiled bodies with the tight confines of a small, rectangular box. The Italian photographer positions two or more slithering creatures against the black backdrops and shoots the composed images from overhead. Each reptile is so entwined that it’s difficult to tell them apart, resulting in a chaotic and disorienting mix of color, texture, and depth.

Mocafico is known for the distinct still lifes that define his commercial work and personal projects, which include striking series focused on organisms like anemones, jellyfish, and arachnids, to name a few. Explore an expansive archive of his photography on his site.

 

Elaphe taeniura friesi

Naja samarensis

Dendroaspis angusticeps

Top left: Coluber viridiflavus. Top right: Vipera ammodytes. Bottom left: Boa constrictor. Bottom right: Agkistrodon bilineatus taylori

Bitis rhinoceros

Top left: Crotalus polystictus. Top right: Agkistradon bilineatus bilineatus. Bottom left: Naja kaouthia albinos. Bottom right: Naja naja

Leiopython albertisi

 

 



Craft

Kaleidoscopic Patterns Coil Around Miniature Snakes Exquisitely Cast in Glass

January 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Ryan Eicher

Intricate linework and trippy, geometric motifs flow through the minuscule glass-blown serpents by Ryan Eicher. The Maryland-based artist casts smooth, colorful gradients, rainbow stripes, thin parallel bands, and intersecting helices within the snakes’ coiled bodies, a challenge considering the structure of the patterns shifts as he shapes the forms. Each miniature creature stretches only a few millimeters wide, and many of Eicher’s most recent pieces feature a mishmash of lines and shapes created with artists like Future Glass and Emerson, among others. You can find details about those collaborative pieces on Instagram, and head to Etsy to add one of the tiny snakes to your collection.

 

 

 



Art

A Serpentine Rattlesnake Wraps Around a Metaphorical Wood and Book Sculpture by Maskull Lasserre

January 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Maskull Lasserre

In a towering, totem-style sculpture titled “The Garden,” Canadian artist Maskull Lasserre (previously) compresses a collection of 18th-century botanical texts between two parallel planks of Douglas Fir. Metal vices bore through the wooden beams, securing the first four volumes of William Withering’s An Arrangement of British Plants, although both the natural and manufactured components are eroded with Lasserre’s intricately carved snake that winds around the perimeter and appears to bind the individual components together. “The Garden” is one of the artist’s most recent works that metaphorically and physically considers the concept of tension, and you can see more in his portfolio.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Sinuous Snakes, Insects, and Florals Intertwine in Graphite Illustrations by Zoe Keller

June 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Where We Once Lived II,” copper belly water snake, graphite on paper, 14 x 14 inches. All images © Zoe Keller, shared with permission

Through a winding series of delicate illustrations, Zoe Keller (previously) explores the fragility of the natural world. In Scale & Bone, the Portland-based illustrator renders copper belly water snakes, San Francisco garters, and eastern diamondback rattlers through sinuous compositions that are ripe with skeletal remains, rows of butterflies, and dense patches of fungi. Each graphite drawing examines the tension between life and death and how nature’s processes are cyclical, including the shedding and regeneration of tube-like layers of skin.

Keller’s work considers the beauty of the limbless reptiles in an effort to subvert cultural notions. “Snakes, in particular, fascinate me as a subject matter because they elicit such a strong response in so many people,” she shares with Colossal. Scale & Bone is part of a larger effort to visualize the destruction of ecosystems and widespread loss of biodiversity. “Through the use of visual narratives that are interjected with surreal and magical elements, I hope to allow the species in my drawings to speak with urgency to the forces causing their decline in this time of human-driven mass extinction,” she writes.

Many of Keller’s projects fall at the intersection of art and environmental activism, offering
“opportunities to collaborate directly with scientists working on the ground to protect imperiled species.” The illustrator recently worked with Save the Snakes, an organization that steers conservation efforts and attempts to reduce harm by humans. Her serpent-focused poster will be unveiled this summer in time for World Snake Day.

Scale & Bone currently is on view at Antler Gallery, which is offering a virtual tour on its site. Follow Keller on Instagram for updates on her intertwined illustrations, and check her shop for prints, postcards, and stickers.

 

“Black Pine Snake,” graphite on paper, 34 x 43 inches

“Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake,” graphite on paper, 34 x 43 inches

“Eastern Indigo,” graphite on paper, 27.5 x 36 inches

“Memento Mori I” (2020), giant garter snake and pipevine swallowtail, graphite on paper, 14 x 14 inches

“Always I” (2020), New Mexican tidge-nosed rattlesnake, graphite on paper, 14 x 14 inches

“Memento Mori II,” San Francisco garter and cabbage white, graphite on paper, 14 x 14 inches

“Are We Ghosts,” graphite on paper, 27.5 x 36 inches

 

 



Art Photography

Models with Albinism Challenge Standards of Beauty in Photographs by Justin Dingwall

August 24, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Photographer Justin Dingwall (previously) continues to challenge how the public perceives and defines beauty. In his photo series “Albus,” butterflies and snakes rest on models with albinism as symbols of transformation and change. The images are a celebration of diversity and an invitation for viewers to question and rethink conventional beauty standards.

The series includes portraits of model Sanele Junior Xaba and South African model, lawyer, and activist Thando Hopa, the first woman with albinism to grace the cover of Vogue. Dingwall uses light and dark in his work for contrast, but also symbolically to represent truth and an unenlightened state. The photographer also uses water in some of the photographs to indicate change and self- reflection.

“They are not about race or fashion, but about perception, and what we subjectively perceive as beautiful,” Dingwall in a statement. “I wanted to create a series of images that resonate with humanity and make people question what is beautiful…To me diversity is what makes humanity interesting and beautiful.”

To see more of Justin Dingwall’s work, give him a follow over on Instagram.

 

 



Design Illustration

Mesmerizing New Serpentine Tattoos by Mirko Sata

June 26, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Milan-based tattoo artist Mirko Sata (previously) has mastered the art of inking snakes, creating elaborate tangles of scales and tails that wrap around the arms and legs of his clients. Sata frequently works with opposing color schemes, creating novel contrasts between black and white or red and green in the otherwise minimalist line-based pieces. He’s also incorporated various floral motifs in place of the snake’s scales in a number of recent pieces. You can follow more of his work on Instagram.