In Sonia Alins’s dreamy works, figures gently break through the surface of the sea, creating a minimal ripple around their bodies as they dip in and out of the water. The Spanish artist and illustrator (previously) is known for her expressive swimmers, whose enlarged limbs splay in graceful positions as they float and move through the ocean. Translucent sheets of vellum produce the cloudy effects of water, obscuring fish and coral and adding a three-dimensional element to the largely ink, acrylic, and watercolor drawings.
Although Alins primarily centers women in ambiguous states of emotion, men and children have been emerging in her mixed-media illustrations, further reflecting on the artist’s own experience with motherhood and the incomparable force of aquatic environments. “I feel the water as powerful entity, a supernatural force capable of source anguish, pain, desperation in the same way that it is a source of happiness, joy, inner peace, and love. Water helps me to express my feelings in a louder way, and it’s why I love it,” she tells Colossal.
Alins works on a variety of commissions in addition to her personal practice, and her ethereal project for Moleskine titled “The Beautiful Red Reefs” recently won her an Award of Excellence from Communication Arts’s annual competition. Browse originals and hand-embellished prints in limited quantities in her shop, and you can keep up with her illustrations, in addition to news about upcoming shows like the one at Taipei’s Contemporary by U gallery in October, on Behance and Instagram.
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History, science, and nature converge in the watercolor and ink drawings of French artist Steeven Salvat (previously). Whether encasing beetles in ornate armor, rotational gears, and antique dials or rendering vast entanglements of flora and fauna, Salvat’s works exquisitely apply a fanciful veil to wildlife and insects. Each piece, which is the result of hundreds of hours of painstaking linework, stems from biological studies and 18th-century engravings, two themes the artist returns to as a way to allude to the precious qualities of the natural world.
Salvat’s Nymphalidae series will be on view from August 14 to September 12 at Haven Gallery in Northport, New York. Find a multitude of videos detailing his process on Instagram, and shop limited-edition prints and originals on his site.
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Japan-based artist Hiroki Takeda adds a dose of whimsy to his otherwise faithful portrayals of friendly felines. Largely rendered in shades of pink and purple with intermittent splashes of blues and greens, Takeda’s watercolor works blend flora and fauna into affectionate cats and kittens caught lounging around or mid-snooze. Vines and grasses add fur-like texture and outline the creatures’ figures, which the artist then completes with sprawling gardens brimming with leaves, blossoms, and butterflies.
Takeda tells Colossal that his vivid works are derived from a combination of influences, including his mother’s enthusiasm for plants and his background in caricature, and are the result of experimenting with myriad styles throughout his university studies. “One day, I had a moment in my mind when I saw a painting of an animal and its fur looked like a plant,” he says. “The idea of combining watercolor with plants and animals felt very natural to me.”
If you’re in Osaka, stop by Shinsaibashi Gajin Gallery to see the artist’s floral animals between July 24 to August 12. Otherwise, pick up a print, and follow his work on Instagram. (via Design You Trust)
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Longtime Colossal readers will recognize the surreal, fictionalized scenes illustrated by Marija Tiurina (previously). Whether a bizarre mishmash of thoughts from quarantine or a crowded parallel universe in North London, Tiurina’s works are a seemingly endless exploration of mystery, delight, and general chaos, themes the London-based illustrator continues in her new series Stereogramos—the title is a portmanteau blending the “Spanish world for a bouquet (of endless objects and limbs, in my case) and ‘-os’ ending that is typical to the worlds of plural female form in Lithuanian language,” she says.
Comprised of three jiggling gifs and a longer, scrolling animation, the works deviate from Tiurina’s static paintings and build a playful, peculiar setting around three central characters in her signature style. The female figures exude an air of cool disinterest and are surrounded by objects defining their unqiue personalities, including greasy slices of pizza, cracked vinyl, and even a disturbingly severed limb.
To create the dizzying works, Tiurina began by drawing and painting the individual elements with watercolor, and after cutting each out, she layered them into rich, abstracted scenes with a single central character. Her stereograms, or two-dimensional renderings that give the illusion of greater depth, diverge from historical stereoscopic images that positioned two photos side-by-side on a flat plane viewed with binocular vision. Instead, the illustrator merges the two into one glitching visual that appears in three dimensions.
Tiurina recorded her entire process for Stereogramos, which you can see in the video below, and you can find more of her packed, sprawling illustrations and similarly looping Droste Effect watercolor on Behance and Instagram. She also sells originals, prints, and books on her site, and if you’re in Reykjavík, stop by SIM Residency to see her work as part of a group show that’s open through May 29, 2021.
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Discarded Technology and Branded Trash Are Stacked into Dystopian Structures in Alvaro Naddeo's Paintings
Behind each one of Alvaro Naddeo’s watercolor paintings is an imagined character who’s built a rickety shopping cart structure or gathered waste materials for a tiny, mobile dwelling. “I believe they are strong people, resilient, and survivalists,” the Brazilian artist tells Colossal. “They use creativity to overcome obstacles and adapt to any situation they are put in. So in a way, both of them, characters and discarded objects, are proof that there’s value in everything if you know where to look for it.”
Evoking an alternative universe in a state of ruin, Naddeo (previously) renders ramshackle structures and vehicles—which only span a few inches—made primarily of outdated technology, rusted carts and frames, and a plethora of branded materials: a Marlboro sign props up an upper level, a Coca-Cola panel offers protection from the elements, and logoed posters and stickers cover almost every surface. By fashioning these relics anew, the artist speaks to consumerism and the waste it generates, a concern that dovetails with a focus on income and wealth inequalities. He explains:
The gap between rich and poor continues to incessantly grow and it seems like nothing can’t stop it. That’s the harsh and important message of my work, but this message comes wrapped in a nice and warm blanket of nostalgia and the beauty of the composition. This warmth makes up for the harshness of the subject matter.
Currently living and working in Los Angeles, Naddeo is involved in a few group shows in the coming months, including at Beinart and Outre galleries in Melbourne and A. Hurd Gallery in Albuquerque. He’s also preparing for two solo exhibitions next year, which will be at Thinkspace in Los Angeles and at Beinart. Until then, check out his Instagram for glimpses of his process and a larger collection of his dystopian paintings.
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Expressive Portraits, Line Drawings, and Foliage Are Superimposed into Rich Illustrations by Ana Santos
At the center of Ana Santos’s practice is a commitment to discovery. The Salamanca-based illustrator fuses multiple mediums—her work ranges from watercolor, ink-based drawing, and digital painting to embroidery and ceramics—into portraits superimposed with clusters of foliage, birds, and small, black-and-white renderings, a technique she’s developed through experimentation. “Enjoying the process is very important and being open to error has given me unexpected results, which I really appreciate,” she tells Colossal.
Santos begins the layered works on paper, which she then scans to complete digitally in Photoshop. The resulting portraits are expressive and complex, weaving in elements of emotion, fantasy, and nature. “I don’t like to explain or give a concrete narrative to my work,” she says. “It seems magical to me that the viewer is open to a free and personal interpretation and that the viewer feels that it is their own.”
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.