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Art

Nimble Pugs and Other Cheery Canines Are Chiseled into Stocky Wooden Sculptures by Misato Sano

May 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Misato Sano, shared with permission

Studies show that people are inclined to adopt canine companions that resemble themselves or family members, a psychological impulse that Misato Sano (previously) flips on its head. Rather than carve a pack of doggy doubles, the artist creates textured wooden sculptures of curly-haired poodles and acrobatic pugs imbued with different aspects of her own personality. Encompassing multiple breeds, expressions, and physical traits, each work is a self-portrait. She explains to Colossal:

For me, using the form of dogs is the most appropriate, highest-resolution method to materialize what I think of my inner self. Materializing myself in various states is about having an honest, direct dialogue with myself. In facing myself, I would like to be passionate, free, and loving, like a dog. My works are also about myself looking at myself. In that sense, I might have been making an existence that is sometimes beside myself, a little distance in other times, watching over myself.

Sano is based in the Tohoku region of the Miyagi prefecture and spends her summers creating the lively creatures with fur chiseled in visible gouges. As the weather turns cold, she shifts her practice to embroidery and conveys the adorable faces in plush tufts of thread.

You can see Sano’s carved characters as part of a group exhibition running August 14 to 29 at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California. Otherwise, check out her Instagram for glimpses into her process and to see some of the real-life pups that inspire her works.

 

 

 



Art Design

Delightful Characters Spring to Life in Hand-Cranked Wooden Automata by Kazuaki Harada

May 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

Japanese woodworker Kazuaki Harada (previously) has spent the last few years designing these playful automata that activate with a simple hand-crank. Watch miners work in tandem, a figure cackle with unparalleled enthusiasm, and the devil aggressively play the fiddle, and make sure to turn your volume up, too—Harada often pairs an audio component with the mechanical movements for an additional dose of whimsy. For more of his quirky designs, which include many of the character-based works shown here in addition to more elaborate, abstract pieces, check out his Instagram and YouTube.

 

 

 



Art

Bold Bands of Paint Bisect Playful Sculptures of Carved Wood by Willy Verginer

March 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “I pensieri non fanno rumore” (2019), different types of wood, acrylic color, 150 x 100 x 107 centimeters. All images © Willy Verginer, shared with permission

Clusters of wooden spheres bubble up the fingertips and bodies of the children in Willy Verginer’s poetic sculptures. The Italian artist (previously) contrasts realistic carvings of adolescent figures with elements of whimsy and imagination. Alongside the forms that evoke childhood games are thick stripes of monochromatic paint, which wrap around the sculptures and bisect them in unusual places.

Whether a pastel, neutral tone, or black, the color is symbolic and used to convey subtle messages. Verginer’s works often stem from what he sees as the absurdity of ecological issues or larger societal problems, like the U.S. banking collapse. “My largest effort and research focus on not tying myself to the naturalistic representation of figures, but on giving something more through a dreamlike study, or better an absurd one, and not an imaginary one,” he says. “This world and the whole connected system were so absurd that they made me reproduce an equally absurd situation.”

 

Detail of “Chimica del pensiero” (2019), lindenwood, acrylic color, 168 x 46 x 45 centimeters

Many of the sculptures shown here are part of Verginer’s most recent series, Rayuela, which is the Spanish term for hopscotch and the title of Julio Cortázar’s counter-novel that can be read from front to back or vice versa. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style, the book produces varying endings and meanings depending on the reader’s sequence. Cortázar’s adventurous format combined with the imaginative nature of the game informed Vreginer’s approach to the series, which the artist explains:

(In rayuela), kids outline an ideal map on the ground, which starts from the earth and reaches the sky, through intermediate stages marked with numbered squares, on which they jump according to where a pebble is thrown. I can see a metaphor of life in this game; our existence is full of these jumps and obstacles. Each of us aims to reach a sort of sky.

In June, Toronto’s Gallery LeRoyer will have an exhibition of Verginer’s precisely carved works, and the artist has another slated for September at the Zemack Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. Until then, find more of his sculptures on Instagram.

 

“Pensieri nascosti” (2020), lindenwood, acrylic color, 172 x 39 x 33 centimeters

“Chimica del pensiero” (2019), lindenwood, acrylic color, 168 x 46 x 45 centimeters

“I pensieri non fanno rumore” (2019), different types of wood, acrylic color, 150 x 100 x 107 centimeters

“Scisserlé,” lindenwood, acrylic color, 200 x 59 x 46 centimeters

“Palvaz” (2019), lindenwood, acrylic color, 95 x 70 x 47 centimeters

“Rayuela” (2020), tiglio, acrylic color, 123 x 110 x 90 centimeters

 

 



Art

Smooth Curves and Negative Space Complete Elegant Wooden Sculptures by Ariele Alasko

March 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ariele Alasko, shared with permission

From hunks of beechwood or maple, artist Ariele Alasko carves sculptural works that take the shape of smooth curves, ruffles, and squiggled lines. The elegant pieces play with contrast and negative space and are assembled into abstract compositions, whether as a smaller wall object or expansive mobile-style suspension. In a note to Colossal, Alasko shares that she strives to sustainably source all of her materials, whether from local lumber yards or her own property in Washington State. The artist holds a BFA in sculpture from Pratt Institute, and you can follow her carvings on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

A Canadian Company Upcycles Millions of Disposable Chopsticks into Sleek Furniture and Home Goods

March 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

On a global scale, we collectively consume a staggering number of chopsticks each year—80 billion pairs to be exact—many of which end up discarded in landfills and other waste sites. Since 2016, though, a Vancouver-based company has been upcycling the disposable utensils into a modern, minimal line of furniture and home goods.

A new video from Business Insider goes behind-the-scenes with ChopValue to chronicle the entire production process, which starts with collecting the free, raw material from about 300 restaurants around the British Columbian city. When they’re brought back to the plant, the utensils are sorted, coated in a water-based resin, and baked in a 200-degree oven for five hours to kill all germs. They’re then broken down and loaded into a massive hydraulic machine that compresses the individual sticks into a composite board, which finally is sanded and fashioned into countertops, tiles, and dominos, among a variety of other products. Since its inception, the company has saved nearly 33 million pairs of chopsticks from entering a landfill.

With three microfactories in Canada and retailers across North America, ChopValue’s footprint is growing, and the company is currently offering opportunities for franchises. Shop coasters, shelving, and other goods on the site, and follow product launches on Twitter and Instagram. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Design

A Striking Curved Wall Swells Upward Across Three Stories of a Taipei Home by Yuan Architects

February 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via Yuan Architects

Nestled in the mountainous region of Taipei’s Xindian district is a new home by Yuan Architects that mirrors the stately landscape outdoors. In “Lan Villa,” the international design firm constructed a central, curved wall that sweeps upward as it follows the two staircases from ground floor to ceiling. It mimics the roving scenery that can be viewed through the large, glass windows covering the back facade.

Cloaked in wooden slats, the striking enclosure spans all three stories of the 2,390-square-foot home, which features a kitchen, dining area, and large deck on the first level, main entrance and mezzanine on the second, and bedrooms on the uppermost floor. The bowed wall “represents the flow of life through an architectural structure,” the firm says in a statement about the project. “As a collector of seasonal changes outdoors as well as an interface of the living space, the wall reflects every variation of light and color on the rolling hills and casts different colors of light into the living space accordingly.”

Take a virtual tour of the home below, and see more photographs of the elegant, swelling feature on Yuan Architects’ site. You also can follow the firm’s work on Instagram. (via designboom)