Vibrant Patterns Envelop Dozens of Mythical Animal Sculptures That Explore the Folk Art Traditions of Mexico
November 22, 2022

In Guardians, artists María del Carmen Mendoza Méndez and Jacobo Ángeles Ojeda, of Jacobo and Maria Ángeles Workshop, pay homage to the mythical creatures of their Oaxacan childhoods. The husband-wife duo carves the soft wood of the copal tree into fantastical creatures that reference Mesoamerican spirituality and Mexican folk art, including the sculptures known as alebrijes. They refer to the unearthly characters as Tonas and Nahuales and cloak the birds, butterflies, and beasts in vibrant patterns and Zapotec symbols. More

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Vibrant Patterns Envelop Dozens of Mythical Animal Sculptures That Explore the Folk Art Traditions of Mexico appeared first on Colossal.

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Photographer Levon Biss Illuminates the Strange, Otherworldly Chrysalises of Butterfly Pupae
November 4, 2022

A photographer known for using the macro to investigate the micro, Levon Biss (previously) continues his explorations into the vast world of entomology. His recent butterfly pupae series centers on “the diversity of design and form” through illuminating portraits of approximately 30 specimens as they undergo metamorphosis and complete the final, most vulnerable stage of the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Otherworldly and bordering on the bizarre, many of the chrysalises have evolved to be deceptive in appearance, acting as necessary camouflage from potential predators by impersonating nearby plants and surroundings: some mimic the natural, like those that imitate a rotting plantain or mossy hunk of bark, while others are more artful, like those spotted with Kusama-esque dots or cloaked in a mirrored gold coating. More

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Photographer Levon Biss Illuminates the Strange, Otherworldly Chrysalises of Butterfly Pupae appeared first on Colossal.

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In a Patterned Menagerie, Artist Anne Lemanski Stitches Printed Papers into Animal Forms
August 11, 2022

Constellations, butterflies, and bold checkered prints overlay the animalistic forms by Anne Lemanski. Beginning with a copper armature, the North Carolina-based artist stretches vintage paper or patterns of scanned objects across a minimal metal form and stitches the edges together into a geometric patchwork.
Ranging from abstract shapes to illustrations and photos, the printed motifs evoke each character’s temperament, presence, and overall essence. “Stella Terra,” for example, is sheathed in white paper, and images of animals and objects speckle the ephemeral material similar to the spotted coat of the live Appaloosa counterpart. More Continue reading

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In ‘Extinct and Endangered,’ Photographer Levon Biss Magnifies the Potential Loss of Insects Around the Globe
June 28, 2022

Despite existing on separate continents thousands of miles apart, the Madeira brimstone and giant Patagonian bumblebee are experiencing similar hardships. The former, which inhabits the islands it inherits its name from, is dealing with an invasive species decimating the trees its caterpillars require pre-metamorphosis, while the latter has been struggling to survive in its native Chile after farmers introduced domesticated European bees to aid in crop pollination. Both species are in danger and are part of an ongoing exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History conveying what’s at stake if their species are lost entirely. More Continue reading

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Elaborately Layered Gardens by Ebony G. Patterson Hide Haunting Messages Within Dazzling Displays
March 10, 2022

Ebony G. Patterson’s multi-layered works are willfully superficial. The Jamaican artist weaves together a mélange of torn papers, tassels, appliqués, and feathered butterflies to create striking gardens replete with glitter and vibrant hues. “In many ways, I think of the work as the flower and the audience as the bees,” Patterson told Nasher Museum. “The bee is first attracted to the flower because of its color, but it’s not until you start peeling back the layers that you understand what’s happening with the nectar.”
Often set against wallpaper of her own design, Patterson’s mixed-media tapestries and smaller works are immersive and captivating, inviting study of both individual elements and how they interact. More Continue reading

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Learn to Paint Magical Scenes in Thread in a New Book by Embroidery Artist Emillie Ferris
January 13, 2022

U.K.-based artist Emillie Ferris (previously) has spent nearly a decade refining her distinct embroidery technique, which involves staggering long and short stitches to create textured portrayals of flora and fauna. She’s crafted magical butterflies in smooth gradients, bees that appear as fuzzy as their real-life counterparts, and a variety of realistic portraits that use sweeping, layered passes associated with brushstrokes to render images in fiber.
Now her work culminates in a forthcoming book published by David & Charles titled Paint with Thread: A Step-By-Step Guide to Embroidery Through the Seasons. More Continue reading

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Exceptionally Slow-Motion Footage Documents Tropical Butterflies Bursting from Their Chrysalises and Taking Flight
December 15, 2021


In an extravagant display of evolutionary tricks and mating rituals, new footage by Adrian Smith of the wildly popular Ant Lab YouTube channel focuses on six tropical butterflies. The extremely slow-motion montage zeroes in on a trio of tropical creatures as they crack open and emerge from their chrysalises and others like the striking Blue Morpho as they take flight. Smith paired the spectacular clips with behind-the-scenes footage of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Living Conservatory, which fosters a climate-controlled environment that hundreds of butterflies hatch from every few weeks. More Continue reading

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Dizzying Patterns Envelop Imagined Characters in Portraits by Sofia Bonati
October 22, 2021

In the hypnotic portraits of Argentinian artist Sofia Bonati (previously), women find themselves embraced by backgrounds of black-and-white linework, foliage, and abstract geometries. The feminine characters often have rosy cheeks and earnest expressions, and they seamlessly meld with their patterned environments, which sometimes conceal the outlines of their figures and accentuate their unique facial features.
Now based in Oxfordshire, Bonati will show some of her dizzying drawings in a group exhibition with Wow x Wow this December. More Continue reading

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Watercolor Illustrations by Steeven Salvat Cloak Natural Specimens with Elaborate Metallic Motifs
August 6, 2021

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. More Continue reading

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Otherworldly Ecosystems Populate Dense, Cross-Hatched Illustrations by Song Kang
February 16, 2021

Packed with texture and depth, Song Kang’s ink-based drawings begin with “I wonder…I wonder how this will look compared to that, or I wonder if I can mix this and that,” she says. The Atlanta-based illustrator renders rich labyrinths populated by elements from land and sea that are depicted in an otherworldly manner: candy-colored liquid drips from a bonsai, fish and butterflies coexist in the same dense ecosystem, and a maze of M.C. More Continue reading

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Gemstones, Delicate Filigree, and Mechanical Gears Encase Steeven Salvat’s Insect Specimens
November 18, 2020

Steeven Salvat (previously) evokes the glass-covered entomological studies of rare butterflies, beetles, and moths with an additional layer of protection. The French artist armors the singular insects with precious gemstones, silver and gold filigree, and rotational gears. Even elements of luxury watches, like Breguet’s Reine de Naple and an intricate dial from Vacheron Constantin, cloak the critters’ outer shells.
In a note to Colossal, Salvat writes that the growing collection of drawings is an “allegory for the preciosity of biological systems. More Continue reading

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Neural Networks Create a Disturbing Record of Natural History in AI-Generated Illustrations by Sofia Crespo
September 30, 2020

Sofia Crespo describes her work as the “natural history book that never was.” The Berlin-based artist uses artificial neural networks to generate illustrations that at first glance, resemble Louis Renard’s 18th Century renderings or the exotic specimens of Albertus Seba’s compendium. Upon closer inspection, though, the colorful renderings reveal unsettling combinations: two fish are conjoined with a shared fin, flower petals appear feather-like, and a study of butterflies features insects with missing wings and bizarrely formed bodies. More Continue reading

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Elaborate Fashions and Hairstyles Explore Beauty and Power in Photographer Luke Nugent’s Lavish Portraits
September 25, 2020

London-based photographer Luke Nugent (previously) captures a wide swath of beauty and expression through his powerful images centered on Black models. Often in commanding poses, the subjects sport evocative fashions and elaborately designed makeup. One model is covered in Kintsugi-style cracks and encrusted with glimmering gems, while others wear futuristic garments and lavishly styled hair. The deeply considered photographs are created collaboratively with makeup and hair artists, stylists, and creative directors. More Continue reading

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“Finding A Way” by Artist Eric Louie
September 9, 2020

New paintings from Vancouver-based painter Eric Louie (previously featured here). Speaking to the will to live, adapt and survive, Louie’s latest work evokes a sense of strength and vigour. “Examples of characters in their glory,” as he states: “Something celebratory thrives within each painting for myself. The work combines elements of still life, abstraction and … Continued Continue reading

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Vivid Botanics and Butterflies Encircle Photographer Fares Micue in Striking Self-Portraits
August 26, 2020

Surrounded by monarchs or a blanket of blue leaves, Fares Micue (previously) captures vividly composed self-portraits. The Spain-based photographer conceals her face and instead focuses on the organic elements surrounding her torso. Whether a series of origami birds or yellow and red twigs resembling flames, the natural additions merge seamlessly with Micue, who bends and contorts her figure to follow the shapely forms of the arranged objects.
In a note to Colossal, the photographer said she’s been more inclined to create since the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, considering her work an invitation into self-reflection. More Continue reading

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Paper Wildlife Sculptures by Artist Diana Beltrán Herrera Document Nature’s Most Striking Details
July 28, 2020

In 2012, Bristol-based artist Diana Beltrán Herrera (previously) began sculpting impeccably layered paper birds and other wildlife as a way to record her surroundings. Her lifelike pieces continuously have captured nature’s finely detailed and minuscule elements, like the fibrous texture of feathers and the veins running through leaves.
Today, the artist has expanded the practice to include exotic species and environments she’s never seen up close, developing her paper techniques to express the more nuanced details of the shapes and textures she studies in biology books. More Continue reading

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Sinuous Snakes, Insects, and Florals Intertwine in Graphite Illustrations by Zoe Keller
June 27, 2020

Through a winding series of delicate illustrations, Zoe Keller (previously) explores the fragility of the natural world. In Scale & Bone, the Portland-based illustrator renders copper belly water snakes, San Francisco garters, and eastern diamondback rattlers through sinuous compositions that are ripe with skeletal remains, rows of butterflies, and dense patches of fungi. Each graphite drawing examines the tension between life and death and how nature’s processes are cyclical, including the shedding and regeneration of tube-like layers of skin. More Continue reading

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