surreal

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Art

Bizarre Porcelain Sculptures by Artist Morel Doucet Tangle Limbs, Seashells, and Coral

August 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

“White Noise, Let the choir sing a magnified silence (25 Affirmation)” (2017), slip-cast porcelain and hand-built and altered forms, 5 x 5 feet. All images by David Gary Lloyd and Pedro Wazzan and © Morel Doucet, shared with permission

Based in Miami, artist Morel Doucet imbues his surreal artworks with a reminder that the natural world is ripe with entanglements. Often monochromatic, the slip-cast and hand-built porcelain pieces merge flora and fauna into dense amalgamations: a series of naked figures sit with coral, safety pins, and starfish as heads, while other assemblages feature a singular arm or pair of legs jutting out from a mass of sea creatures.

Doucet not only considers how humans are damaging the environment but also who is most likely to suffer in the process. In the series White Noise: When Raindrop Whispers and Moonlight Screams in Silence, he responds to the impacts of the climate crisis and ecological disaster on communities of color in the Miami area. “The beaches are eroding into the sea, coral reefs are turning bleach white, and residents wait tentatively for seawater rise. Everywhere you look Miami is undergoing drastic infrastructure changes trying to gear up for a losing battle against land and sea,” he shares with Colossal. “I believe these communities will experience the greatest climate exodus within our modern times.”

Doucet’s recent endeavors include an upcoming series called Water grieves in the six shades of death that will respond to climate-gentrification and its impact on communities with lower incomes.  Follow the artist’s sculptural considerations on Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)

 

“Jaded Moonlight (Gardenia)”

“White Noise, Let the choir sing a magnified silence (25 Affirmation)” (2017), slip-cast porcelain and hand-built and altered forms, 5 x 5 feet

“Black Madonna & Venus”

“Regal Black Madonna (black is black, black is motherhood)” (2019), porcelain ceramic with cast altered forms, 22 to 24 inches in diameter

“When all the gold fell from the sun (Fall from Grace)” (2019), slip-cast porcelain ceramics

“The black on my back dances in a room full of to many silence part 2” (2019), slip-cast porcelain ceramic and hand altered forms, 6.5 x 10 x 5.5 inches

 

 



Art Photography

Perception-Twisting Miniatures by Artist Frank Kunert Transform the Mundane into the Surreal

July 31, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Frank Kunert, shared with permission

Frank Kunert (previously) is a Germany-based photographer and modelmaker who creates mind-stretching scenes that, from afar, appear like everyday urban environments with the same beige color palette and concrete walls that are common across the world. On closer inspection, though, Kunert’s work reveals itself to be a series of surreal scenarioshe takes viewers on a fantastical journey in which mundane objects are transformed and merged into unusual architectural scenes that explore the “absurdity of life.”

In one work, a cot is sandwiched in the middle of a desk and bookcases, while in another, two old stools sitting on a small carpet face a large window that resides high in the sky, with two minuscule glasses of rosy wine positioned beside them. Each piece of Kunert’s tiny, perception-twisting models takes him weeks to months to create, and afterward, he photographs them with a large-format, analog camera.

Kunert turns common objects into pieces of admiration, giving viewers the chance to reflect on redesigning old collectibles or waste items for new uses. Throughout this period, social distancing has influenced Kunert’s work and many of his designs reflect a new normal. For example, he redesigned an old wooden table, which he divided into individual booths for diners. 

You can view more of the artist’s projects on Instagram and in his book, Frank Kunert: Lifestyle, which is available on Bookshop.

 

 

 



Art Science

Science-Inspired Ink by Michele Volpi Blurs the Line Between Tattoo and Textbook

July 29, 2020

Vanessa Ruiz

All images © Michele Volpi, shared with permission

One might learn something from staring at the tattoos of Italian artist Michele Volpi (previously). The composition, detailed dot work, and precise lines of his tattoos transcend both ink-infused skin and science textbooks. The Bologna-based tattoo artist relishes in scientific books—from Frank Netter’s painterly medical illustrations to the exquisitely rendered biological specimens and marine life of Ernst Haeckel. He often visits bookshops during his travels to discover and acquire these new sources of inspiration.

Volpi’s customers seek him out to tattoo an array of botany, astronomy, physiology, and chemistry-based compositions. Sometimes customers let him choose the branch of science, in which case he renders his favorite subject—anatomy. Even then, Volpi combines subject matter like in his tattoo comparing the shape of a human pelvis to that of a butterfly or another that features a human skull being stretched absurdly through a wormhole.

The artist tells Colossal that his “dream is to make a scientific book with all of my conceptual scientific illustrations that I love.” View Volpi’s body of work and booking information on Instagram. For those not ready for the permanence of a tattoo, there are prints of his pen-and-ink, anatomical illustrations available in his shop.

 

 

 

 



Illustration

Face Masks Hold Fish Tanks and Overgrown Patches of Botanics in Surreal Illustrations by Kit Layfield

July 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Kit Layfield, shared with permission

A long way from the packs of blue, disposable masks many of us bulk purchased at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the face coverings Philadelphia-based illustrator Kit Layfield envisions are a bit more complex and otherworldly. He draws intricate contraptions featuring the traditional nose-and-mouth covering that then are connected to larger collars adorned with luxuriant shrubs, miniature ecosystems, and tiny fish tanks. The individual subjects all are situated within the diverse environments, providing the necessary structure to keep the micro-systems flourishing.

Layfield shares with Colossal that his surreal illustrations reflect a fascination with what he terms digital climate change. “I like to think of the various information ecosystems online in the same terms I would think of a natural ecosystem,” he says. “A fact can not exist alone, in the same way a flower can not exist alone. It needs to be rooted in something.” As media floods online, it becomes more difficult to wade through, which he expands on by saying:

The perfect example of digital climate change is the information ecosystem surrounding actual climate change. Every year, the information supporting climate change has become more and more undeniable, and simultaneously Americans’ belief in climate change has dropped. I think the information online backing up the truth of climate science is out there. However, the ecosystem that allows that information to survive and spread has been severely endangered.

Although Layfield’s illustrations are interwoven with fantastical elements, he hopes they inspire people to understand how connected they are to others and their environment. “Could somebody see a mask online, one that is so absurd it could never exist in reality, and make them think about wearing a mask in reality? I think it’s possible,” he says.

Find more of Layfield’s bizarre projects that merge social and environmental commentaries on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Food

Berries, Cookies, and Salami Slices Anonymize Vintage Portraits by Digital Artist Harriet Moutsopoulos

July 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Idaeus,” 20 x 24.01 inches. All images © Harriet Moutsopoulos, shared with permission

Telling someone that there’s an errant herb stuck between their teeth or a dot of sauce just below their lip is likely to spur embarrassment, so noting that they’re covered in egg or raspberry or a gloopy mound of ketchup might be too much to bear. Harriet Moutsopoulos, though, helps her subjects save face by completely masking their distinct features with singular bites of fruit, bowls of ice cream, and slices of salami, ensuring their anonymity.

The Australian artist, who works under the name Lexicon Love, combines found portraits and edibles into strange collages. Although her techniques are digital, Moutsopolous often considers analog practices, preferring basic technologies to programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. She also imposes limits of two or three elements to maintain the integrity of each piece. “The most significant challenge for me is giving each artwork the slight imperfections of hand and the general look and feel of being made entirely from traditional, analog practices,” she says.

Moutsopolous tells Colossal that she’s “drawn to the surreal and unsettling and try to inject that into my work where possible, always seeking out the unexpected connections between humor and tragedy.” At times both comical and unsettling, the bizarre compilations inspire questions about the subjects’ identities. “On the surface, this absurd combination appears to reject any sense of reason (an extension of my own twisted sense of humor). However, obscuring the faces of my portraits with food is designed to not only challenge traditional notions of beauty but also to provoke, tease, and confuse the observer,” the artist says.

Pick up one of Moutsopoulos’s prints on her site, and follow her future food-covered assemblages on Instagram. (via Inag)

 

“Protogonus,” 20 x 24.01 inches

“Carry on Regardless,” 20 x 24.01 inches

“Cancelled,” 20 x 24.01 inches

“You Win Again,” 20 x 20 inches

“First Love,” 20 x 24.01 inches

“Lorem Ipsum,” 20 × 24.01 inches

“Dog’s Balls,” 20 x 24.01 inches

 

 



Art Illustration

A Surreal Watercolor by Illustrator Marija Tiurina Captures a Miscellany of Thoughts in Quarantine

June 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Marija Tiurina, shared with permission

If Marija Tiurina’s latest watercolor appears to be a random mishmash of dreamy scenes, that’s because it is. The London-based illustrator (previously) recently completed “The Lockdown Project,” a dense composition inspired by dozens of submissions she collected during the first few weeks of quarantine. Complete with childhood memories, dreams, and colloquialisms, the illustration depicts a rich network of bizarre characters and fictional tales that flow organically between scenes.

In a short video (shown below) detailing her process, Tiurina said she began with a central figure resembling herself before sketching submission ideas in the surrounding areas, aptly referring to the project as “a weird salad where everyone’s thoughts, memories, dreams, and ideas are mixed in a bowl and dressed with my imagination.” Out of nearly 1,0000 contributions, her favorites included a coat snatcher, a pasta-eating man named Anchor, and a floating potato.

You can snag one of the signed prints on Tiurina’s site and follow the illustrator’s future compositions on Behance and Instagram.