Illustrator Sonia Alins (previously) creates evocative aquatic scenes using a combination of two and three dimensional elements. Smooth, translucent vellum creates the visual effect of water, and Alins sometimes inserts tufts of colored thread or small sheets of tulle to invoke the ocean floor’s textural topography. Alins then creates carefully placed slits in the vellum to allow her figurative illustrations to peek through the water. Swimming women and the occasional whale move through the murky water, with expressions ranging from peacefulness to mild distress. In an interview with Sara Barnes, Alins explained her deep connection to the water:
I was born near the Mediterranean sea and the influence of it and water in my culture is something defining. I guess it’s part of my DNA. The truth is that the sea has always been present in my life and has transmitted a special and positive energy to me. When taking the first steps of my Dones d’aigua series, water came to me as the perfect medium to communicate and expand emotion. The protagonists of my works interact with this mass of water where they are immersed and, there, their feelings are amplified, their shouts are heard louder, their desperation is felt more profoundly… But also, when they are calm, it feels like a more rewarding emotion too.
The Spain-based artist’s minimal yet impactful style lends itself to literary and editorial illustrations, and Alins has received several advertising and book awards for her work. You can explore more of Alins’ aquatic worlds on Instagram and Behance, and shop prints and products in her Society6 store.
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At Under, a new restaurant completed by architecture and design firm Snøhetta (previously), splashes of aquamarine light dance across tabletops and dishes. This greenish blue hue is emitted from a portal at the front of the space that, as its name suggests, peers underwater and into the depths of the North Sea. The half-sunken restaurant is located at the southernmost tip of Norway, with one side of the structure built into the coastline, and the other resting against the seabed.
Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen explains that the new building “challenges what determines a person’s physical placement in their environment.” In this building,” he continues, “you may find yourself under water, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline.”
In addition to serving as a restaurant, the submerged building also functions as a marine research center. Interdisciplinary research teams will be invited to study the surrounding the biodiversity found along the southern coast, with the goal of building a machine learning tool that will monitor and track the species at regular intervals. Under’s design was also planned with these populations in mind. The building was built to function as an artificial coral reef, and will become integrated into the sea as limpets, kelp, and other underwater life begin to grow from its concrete shell.
The underwater restaurant opens for its first service today, and will seat 35-40 guests nightly. You can see more images from the new restaurant and learn about its menu on their website. (via Dezeen)
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British artist Sue Austin creates multimedia, performance, and installation art, using her wheelchair as a means to explore new patterns of movement. In 2012, Austin was commissioned to create a series of multimedia events as part of that year’s Cultural Olympiad, in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The result, titled “Creating the Spectacle!” is a spectacular immersive dance performance and underwater exploration, which was shot near Sharm el Sheik, Egypt by Norman Lomax of Moving Content. You can watch a portion of the film below.
In the film, Austin uses her arms to guide her through the water, and she wears a summery dress with her long hair flowing freely, as she navigates through schools of fish and past massive coral reefs. Her underwater wheelchair is adapted from a standard-issue National Health Service chair, with battery powered propellers and perspex aerofoils to control turns. Austin hopes that the adaptations will be more widely available at diving centers in the future to make diving more inclusive.
A statement on her website explains, “she aims to find dramatic and powerful ways to re-position disability and Disability Arts as the ‘Hidden Secret’. She argues that this ‘secret’, if explored, valued and then shared, can act to heal the divisions created in the social psyche by cultural dichotomies that define the ‘disabled’ as ‘other’.”
Austin first performed with her underwater wheelchair in Dorset, U.K. in 2012, and has since performed, shown films, and spoken around the world about her art practice. You can learn more about Austin and her organization Freewheeling, on her website, and watch her TED Talk here. (via #WOMENSART)
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Nudibranchs, or sea slugs, and are group of wildly colored animals that use their striking forms to warn predators against attack. Although the sea slugs move slow, they are protected by a brilliant defense mechanism. Some species create an alarming defense by stealing “weapons” from another creature called a hydroid. These plant-like animals may appear like seaweed, but they are actually a jellyfish relative covered in stingers packed with a paralyzing venom.
Instead of being repelled by the dangerous tentacles covering the hydroids’ bodies, nudibranchs devour them. Once swallowed, some of the immature stingers are passed directly into their digestion system and are stored in their spikes. If a sea slug feels threatened, these stingers are deployed for an overwhelming punch of stolen venom. For more information on nudibranchs and their sneaky defense system, view this article from KQED Deep Look. (via The Kid Should See This)
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Japanese marine life photographer Ryo Minemizu focuses his lens on some of the tiniest and most abundant life forms in our oceans. His series Phenomenons explores the diverse beauty and extravagant colors of plankton, and is shot amongst the dark waters of the Osezaki sea near Mount Fuji and other coasts around Japan, the Philippines and Maldives. To capture the small creatures Minemizu sets his shutter speed to just a fraction of a second, while ensuring that his own movements don’t disturb the surrounding organisms.
“Plankton symbolize how precious life is by their tiny existence,” he explains. “I wanted other people to see them as they are in the sea, so it was my motivation from the beginning to shoot plankton underwater, which is quite a challenge. Most plankton are small, and their movements are hard to predict.”
His solo exhibition Jewels in the Night Sea begins a three-city tour at Canon Gallery in Ginza, Tokyo from August 20-29, 2018. It will then move to Cannon galleries in Nagoya and Osaka from September 6-12 and September 20-26, 2018. You can see more of Minemizu’s underwater photography on Instagram and Twitter. Select prints from his Phenomenons series are available in his online shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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Photographer Christy Lee Rogers produces luminous scenes of swirling figures swathed in colorful fabrics. She creates a painterly quality in her large-scale images not by using wet pigments, but rather by completely submerging her subjects in illuminated water and photographing them at night.
The works shown here are part of Rogers’ most recent series, titled ‘Muses’, which were in response to a year of personal loss. She shared in an interview that “these final images represent a soft and peaceful place that I imagine exists, where you can be free to let go and experience the beauty surrounding you.”
Rogers grew up in Hawaii and continues to shoot there, though she now lives in Nashville. Her works are exhibited widely, alongside video installations, one of which can be viewed below. The photographer recently had a solo show at Art Labor Gallery, who will also be representing her work at PHOTOFAIRS | Shangai, opening on September 21, 2018. You can see more from Rogers on Facebook and Vimeo. (via Booooooom)
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The Coralarium is the newest aquatic sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (previously here and here). Built in a large developed coral lagoon in the Maldives, the semi-submerged installation is positioned so both human and marine visitors can interact with sculptural elements on the skyline, inter-tidal waterline, and seabed.
To reach the Coralarium, island guests traverse about 500 feet (150 meters) of shallow water, seascaped with underwater poplars and endemic corals. About 20 feet (6 meters) tall, the open-air stainless steel cube is designed based on natural coral structures and allows tidal water and marine life to pass through. Within the structure, which provides some refuge from the ocean’s currents, are several figurative sculptures that merge human, plant, and coral shapes, based on endemic species of the island and its surrounding reefs. Additional sculptures sit and stand atop the cube’s roof to unite the interior elements with the horizon.
The aquatic destination is accessible via small group tours led by marine biologists that are on staff at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort. You can see more of Taylor’s work on Facebook and Instagram, and the video below shows the creation of the Coralarium. (via Web Urbanist)
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Editor's Picks: Street Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.