Between 1596 and 1647, art dealer and diplomat Philipp Hainhofer traveled around Europe amassing an incredibly rich collection of signatures in the “Große Stammbuch,” or “Album Amicorum.” Akin to an autograph book, Hainhofer’s register is replete with the marks of Cosimo II de’ Medici, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and Christian IV of Denmark and Norway, to name a few. Covered in red velvet, “Album Amicorum” was part of a larger trend to record family, friends, and acquaintances that began in the 16th Century.
Hainhofer compiled the signatures during the course of 50 years, beginning when he was a college student. As he gained religious figures and royalty as clients, he’d ask them to sign his book and commissioned about 100 detailed illustrations to sit alongside. The elaborateness of the illustrations directly corresponds to the signatory’s status and rank in society.
This week The Herzog August Bibliothek purchased the centuries-old tome—which was thought to be lost until it emerged in a London auction in 1931—for about $3.1 million. It’s the library’s second attempt to acquire the historic book after August the Younger of Braunschweig-Lünebur, who was Hainhofer’s friend, failed to buy for the Wolfenbüttel, Germany-based institution in 1648. (via The History Blog)
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Oghalé Alex’s stunning new project is centered on the desire for “escaping the noise… Each picture is meant to look like something out of your imagination or something you might have seen in a dream,” the Nigerian-American photographer says.
Currently living in London, Alex’s serene series was shot for Cold Laundry, a fashion brand led by Ola and Cerise Alabi, in locations worldwide from Los Angeles and Scottsdale to Sicily, Milos, and San Pedro. “One of the things we thought about when it comes to escaping is a vacation,” Alex tells Colossal. “This can be to the beach, a resort, or simply anywhere a person considers to be peaceful.” The neutral tones of the natural landscape serve as an unobtrusive backdrop for the soft-hued clothing.
With models perpetually embodying impending action, whether through rigidly resting on beige sands or jogging with both feet in the air, the ethereal images explore the tension between movement and inactivity.
The touching, posing, and movement all comes from what our idea of freedom is. Sometimes we’ll have the models laying down in a formation. Other times they will be walking out of the frame towards something unseen. Whatever the models do, we often have them do it together because we believe there is comfort and freedom in companionship.
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Instead of writing or illustrating a journal to record his excursions, Sydney-based artist Jake Henzler knits colorful memories of urban landscapes into huge pieces of art. The artist goes by the name of “‘Boy Knits World”’ on Instagram and crafts quilt-like panels of urban spaces that he comes across whilst traveling.
Henzler lived in Copenhagen for a year, and during that time, he created an original hand-knitted blanket panel called “‘Copenhagen Building Blocks.” The large work celebrates the traditional, world-recognized architecture of Denmark’s capital. As a whole, the piece is made up of a series of six grid-like patterns, which Henzler has sewn together to form a larger piece. Each of the architectural blocks is named after a different district in the city and features Nørrebro Studios, Østerbro Studios, Hellerup Apartments, Nyhavn Hotel, Nørreport Offices, and Frederiksberg Apartments.
In Copenhagen, much of the traditional architecture’s brick and woodwork is painted, and the diversity of colors throughout the city creates a strong sense of place. This architectural distinctiveness is illustrated throughout Henzler’s work, and each block comprises the traditional colors, framework, and patterns featured throughout the city’s vibrant districts.
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Paging through a photo album detailing every moment of a friend’s poolside vacation might not be a riveting activity, but flipping through Angela Mckay’s sketchbooks filled with tiny paintings of her travels certainly is. The Brooklyn-based pattern designer and illustrator of Ohkii Studio documents the lush scenery, cavernous waters, and hilly villages she sees on the streets of Lagos, Calamosche Beach on Italy’s southern coast, and in Joshua Tree National Park. Mckay generally positions her miniature paintings against the real-life backdrop, juxtaposing the two depictions that she then shares on Instagram.
The artist tells Colossal that she frequently recreates some of the pieces in her sketchbooks on a larger scale after returning home, relying on her earlier representation for the tiny details she otherwise might not remember. “Often when I’m traveling, I have this urgent feeling that I need to capture everything I’m experiencing, the sights, feelings and textures of a place,” she says.
I really enjoy that feeling of walking around a new place not knowing what I might discover around the corner. I often try to recreate the feeling of a place I have visited in my personal work… I really enjoy the experience of looking at a painting and being transported back to that experience. It’s a nice way to escape from your day to day!
The pocket-size notebooks are a crucial component of Mckay’s process, and she utilizes them in both her personal projects and her work for clients. “They just allow me to play with ideas and explore other directions without having to commit to anything,” she says. To pick up one of Mckay’s watercolor and gouache artworks or prints, head to her shop. (via Lustik)
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New York City-based artist Kathleen Vance creates lush landscapes brimming with green mosses, foliage, and rocky surfaces all stored in an unusual carrier: vintage suitcases. Vance’s ongoing Traveling Landscapes series connects travel and natural resources, inclining her to incorporate active water components into many of her miniature ecosystems. The artist tells Colossal she hopes to convey that “water and our natural open landscapes are our legacy to the future generations and something that must be protected and cherished.” Her more recent pieces, like “Traveling Landscape, Spelunker,” deviate from her previous work by including caverns replete with hanging stalactites and stalagmites, or icicle-like rock formations, that she sculpts by hand.
Utilizing found vessels, Vance says she wants to “relate to a time when travel was slower and the distances between us and our homelands and foreign landscapes were more difficult to access.” Each portable environment is designed and retrofit for specific steamer trunks and train cases.
The cases act to abstract the idea of travel and romanticize its idyllic qualities. I am always on the look out for cases that have some indication of travel, with notes and markers which give a feeling that they have really been used for used for transportation of someone’s special or personal items.
To keep up with Vance’s environmentally focused projects, follow her on Instagram.
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These intricate paper ships crafted by Zim & Zou (previously) form a collective perpetually in search of alternate realities as part of “Exodus.” From their layered propellers to their waving pennants, the bright pink, blue, and purple aircraft are constructed entirely by hand. Each body displays multiple geometric patterns created with cut and stacked paper that match the rest of the fleet. The Dordogne, France-based artistic duo calls this personal project “an ode to travel. Thrown in an endless movement, the aircraft colony crosses time and space toward an unknown outcome. Like birds stuck in an eternal migration, they’re pursuing their dream of an elsewhere.”
In a statement, the pair said paper is their preferred medium because it “inspires them for its versatility, infinite range of colors and unique textures. The flat paper sheets turned into volume are giving an installation the poetry of ephemeral material.” Head to Instagram and Behance for more of Zim & Zou’s tangible pieces, and check out their shop to add a member of the paper fleet to your collection.
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