Colorful, Geometric Stitches Embolden Black-and-White Photographs of Historical Figures and Cultural Icons
September 24, 2020

When Victoria Villasana (previously) lays a long stitch on a vintage photograph, she’s connecting the pattern or geometric shape to a piece of history, culture, or philosophy. The Mexican artist transforms found black-and-white images of cultural icons and historical figures through vibrant embroideries. Turquoise fibers radiate from Nelson Mandela’s fist, a gold, chevron collar lines Chadwick Boseman’s shirt, and Yayoi Kusma sports a multicolor garment with varying dots and stripes. More Continue reading

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MIMOSA: An Optimistic Collection of Temporary Installations Take Over Philadelphia’s Navy Yard
September 23, 2020

An eclectic array of installations recently popped up at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia, transforming the historic neighborhood into a temporary wonderland teeming with quirky characters, large-scale interventions, and optimism. A life-size piñata shaped like a 1984 Thunderbird is parked on 12th Street, cross-stitched roses trail across the brick facade of Building 99, and a typographic message casts shadows on a pavilion in a call for hope.
Officially titled Mystery Island and the Marvelous Occurrence of Spontaneous Art, or MIMOSA, the entirely outdoor exhibition includes work from seven artists DAKU (previously), Justin Favela (previously), Kid Hazo with South Fellini, Reed Bmore, Liesbet Bussche, and Raquel Rodrigo (previously). More Continue reading

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A New Book Chronicles the 125-Year History of the Button, Its Design, and Its Role in Cultural Change
September 10, 2020

If something is “fit for the back of a postage stamp,” it’s generally understood as lacking depth and nuance. A similarly sized object, however, has been upending that saying for 125 years. From political campaigns to punch lines to keepsakes, the button has packed bits of incredibly rich history into just a few inches. “It seems like a niche little object, but it really tells a very general American history,” collector and manufacturer Christen Carter tells Colossal. More Continue reading

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Thick Clusters of Wooden Birdhouses by London Fieldworks Sprawl Across Tree Trunks
August 20, 2020

In London Fieldworks’ delicate creations, architecture meets nature. Its installations feature pine-colored clusters of minuscule wooden forms that appear to grow upon vast tree trunks. Founded by artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson, London Fieldworks is a collaborative and multidisciplinary arts practice with projects at the intersection of architecture, sculpture, installation, and film. 
Each of the homes has rounded windows and doors, while those on large evergreen trees resemble natural objects, such as wasp and hornet nests or even fungi and mushrooms. More Continue reading

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In a Celebratory Series, Photographer Toby Coulson Documents the Eccentric Fashions of Designer Oumou Sy
August 19, 2020

When photographer Toby Coulson met iconic Senegalese fashion designer Oumou Sy in Dakar, they decided to photograph some of her most distinctive garments. “The city has an amazing energy especially as the sun goes down. I thought it would be an amazing accompaniment to Oumou Sy’s theatrical and outlandish couture pieces,” Coulson shares with Colossal. Together, they observed the area for a few days to chose spots and time the sunlight.
The result is a captivating series of photographs, which were originally published in Document Journal,  that capture the myriad textures and patterns of Sy’s unorthodox designs: A woven accessory envelops a model, lining her arms, head, and torso in circular sculptural forms. More Continue reading

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Evoking West-African Masks, Faces Emerge from Cast-Iron Skillets by Artist Hugh Hayden
August 12, 2020

New York-based artist Hugh Hayden (previously) visualizes the ways African traditions are embedded into multiple facets of American culture through a series of cast-iron skillets. Part of a larger exhibition titled American Food, the 26 pans are molded to reveal facial impressions that evoke West African-style masks, blending the cooking tool and cultural object.
Generally established by cooks who were enslaved, southern food includes many of the flavors, techniques, and ingredients prevalent in African cuisine, forming what Hayden sees as one of the foremost culinary traditions distinct to the United States. More Continue reading

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The Best Paper Dolls for Imaginative Crafting and Play
July 29, 2020

Who’s up on the latest fashion trends, cuts the best figure, and puts together the best looks? A paper doll. A generations-old toy, dress-up paper dolls owe their origins to 18th century France, where they had movable limbs and were akin to puppets. A London company produced the first commercially available paper doll in 1810, […] Continue reading

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Vivid Paintings by Artist Jessica Spence Highlight the Beauty of Black Hair
July 13, 2020

Through stunning renderings of Black children and women, Jamaican-American artist Jessica Spence explores the beauty of finished braids, twists held in place with plastic barrettes, and perfectly laid edges. Her acrylic paintings generally depict a single subject, who often is turned away from the viewer, centering the hair and how it’s presented rather than the person’s face. Spence focuses on the intricacies of each lock, comparing the styling process to that of painting. “I nurtured each brushstroke like I would a strand of hair, a two-strand twist, or a braid,” she shares with Colossal. More Continue reading

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