Elegant Figures Inhabit the Surreal Dreamworlds of Thanh Nhàn Nguyễn’s Sublime Illustrations
January 20, 2021

Populated with low clouds, oversized peonies, and birds covered in fish scales, Thanh Nhàn Nguyễn‘s dreamscapes merge fantasy and tradition in a celebration of Vietnamese culture. In his series, Season of Life, the artist digitally renders demure figures who wear áo dài, a long, split gown that’s tied to ideas of feminine beauty. The women are enveloped by the magical environment and depicted with pale tendrils grasping their ankles or cloaked by a fiery, plant-filled mass. More Continue reading

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A Technicolor Flower Bed Sprouts From a 70-Foot-Tall Water Tower in Arkansas
January 13, 2021

A drab water tower in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, is overrun with a 70-foot-tall garden of technicolor flowers and vines thanks to artists Darren and Emmelene Mate, aka DabsMyla. The Australian wife and husband are known for their hand-painted psychedelic dreamscapes, which envelop the otherwise utilitarian tank with oversized flora. Titled “Magical Unity,” the circular mural features plants native to the region, along with a fuzzy bumblebee mid-pollination, all rendered in the duo’s playful style. More Continue reading

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Photorealistic Figures Embody Childhood Wonder in Dreamy Murals by Lula Goce
January 11, 2021

From New York City to Azerbaijan to Kristianstad, Sweden, artist Lula Goce transforms blank walls into ethereal artworks that illustrate childlike wonder and growth. Her murals merge photorealistic renderings of adolescent subjects with otherworldly surroundings: plumes of flowers and vines wind around the figures, serpentine creatures emerge from the plants, and shrunken landscapes rest in the children’s hands. Serene and dreamy, the works often center on children painted in subtle tones who peer into the distance or are deep in sleep. More Continue reading

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Meticulously Sculpted and Tarnished Dandelions Preserve the Herb’s Ephemeral Nature in Metal
January 6, 2021

Staining friend’s hands with dandelion heads and blowing their wispy seeds are a common childhood pastime and a simple joy that Shota Suzuki channels in his delicately constructed sculptures. The Kyoto-based artist painstakingly carves copper, brass, and silver into barbed leaves and feathery seeds to recreate the ubiquitous herbs in each state of bloom and decay.
To tarnish the textured metals and alter their colors, Suzuki uses combinations of vinegar, copper sulfate, and acetic acid to create purples and blues. More Continue reading

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Dialogo: A Frenzied Short Film Translates Indiscernible Audio into Kinetic Sound Sculptures
December 28, 2020

Juxtaposing natural elements and mechanics, “Dialogo” harnesses the frenetic, indiscernible components of language into a synesthetic experience. A mix of stop-motion and live-action, the short film features entirely hand-crafted sculptures by the Madrid-based design studio blo que. Each motorized work translates human utterings into movement, whether through an undulating tube of neon or oscillating florals, generating new associations in a conversation between the senses.
To represent the original audio in a visual manner, blo que converts the speech waveforms into animation curves, which subsequently mobilizes the sculpture’s engines. More Continue reading

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Artificial Blooms: Digital Botanics Showcase the Fractals, Tessellations, and Repetitive Features of the Natural World
November 20, 2020

From tessellations to spirals and symmetry, the Cologne-based duo behind Shy Studio has been reproducing the mesmerizing patterns of the natural world through a series of lifelike botanics. Artificial Bloom is an ongoing project by Misha Shyukin and Hannes Hummel that features still-life florals and animated clips of petals slowly unfurling.
The digital renderings showcase the complexity of organic structures while also highlighting the fractals and endless intricacies inherent to nature’s designs. More Continue reading

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Metaphorical Scenes Examine Mystery in Dreamy Paintings by Artist Duy Huynh
November 9, 2020

Vietnamese aritst Duy Huynh (previously) examines balance through nuanced scenes replete with ethereal, surreal elements: individual flowers ascend from a teapot, a chain winds around an artichoke heart, and figures float mid-air. Rendered in muted hues, the acrylic paintings are metaphorical and narrative-based, visualizing stories by connecting unsual symbols or positioning disparate objects together. The North Carolina-based artist gives the works witty names— “Thyme to Turnip the Beet” and “ReciprociTea,” for example—adding to their playful and whimsical natures. More Continue reading

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Elegant Eats and Bread-Based Fare Form Quirky Interventions in Jill Burrow’s Photographs
October 30, 2020

From her home in Kansas City, Missouri, photographer Jill Burrow composes elegant dining tableaus captured in the fleeting light of golden hour. Complete with floral arrangements and unusual additions,  Burrow’s fare distinctly exhibits the artistic potential of a simple meal when presented in unorthodox settings. Her shadow-filled images frame a picnic spread hanging from a washline, a humble breakfast submerged in water, and a quirky still life of bread-based cookware.
Although she’s adept at transforming a simple piece of toast into a dandelion-studded canvas, Burrow’s forays into cooking and baking are recent. More Continue reading

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Bright Floral Knitting Wraps an Iconic Stratocaster Guitar in a Psychedelic Layer of Color
October 20, 2020

A new piece by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos (previously) envelops one of Fender’s Stratocaster guitars in a vibrant sheath of wool. Titled “Flower Power,” loosely knit petals cover the entirety of the instrument, wrapping the body, neck, and head in a kaleidoscopic bouquet. The fibrous webbing evokes the aesthetic of the 1960s when Fender’s model secured its legendary status.
Along with a diverse series of artist-customized Strats, “Flower Power” will be auctioned on Nov. More Continue reading

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A Curious Whale Explores Dry Land in Quirky, Melancholic Illustrations by Xuan Loc Xuan
October 19, 2020

In a whimsical narrative by Xuan Loc Xuan, an adventurous whale named Lucille traverses a bustling urban center, densely populated forest, and other dry-land locales on her search for a new home. The Ho Chi Minh City-based illustrator renders the marine mammal in a range of playful and melancholic scenes, either resting on a bed of flowers or trapped alone in a city as the sun sets. Titled The Whale Gets Stuck, the vivid series chronciles the whale’s journey that’s ripe with nostalgia and longing for her ocean home, a tale Xuan tells in her book Babà la balena in città, which is printed in Italian. More Continue reading

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Antidote: Organic Lifeforms Rendered with Prussian Blue Create Vivid Ecosystems by Yellena James
October 6, 2020

Using a combination of acrylics, gouache, and ink, Yellena James cultivates brightly-hued ecosystems ripe with lines, patterns, and nature-based motifs. The Portland-based artist paints organic forms that resemble both marine species like coral and kelp in addition to full-bloom flowers, creating brilliant, labyrinth-like ecosystems. Although Prussian blue ink has been a mainstay in James’s practice for years, she recently discovered that the specific color serves as a remedy for certain toxic metal poisonings. More Continue reading

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Bees Encase Raw-Material Embroideries with Honeycomb in New Encaustic Works by Ava Roth
September 18, 2020

When Ava Roth adds the last stitch grasping horsehair or porcupine quills to her embroidered artworks, she passes the fibrous material on to her black-and-yellow counterparts. The Toronto-based artist collaborates with bees to encase her mixed-media pieces in waxy honeycomb. What emerges are organic artworks that consider interspecies interactions and the beauty that such meetings can garner.
Since 2019, Roth has been expanding the wooden frames of her works to twice the size as previous projects. More Continue reading

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Join Pratt SCPS For a Series of Online Floral Design Workshops
September 14, 2020

This fall, study floral design online with world-famous master florists working in diverse styles in the Floral Art for Interiors certificate program at Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS). Every week, you can join a different floral design workshop and create beautiful designs with locally sourced flowers delivered right to your home.
Instructors include Ariella Chezar and Bella Meyer. Chezar, the author of Seasonal Flower Arranging: Fill Your Home With Blooms, Branches, and Foraged Materials All Year Round, will lead a workshop using flowers sourced from her farm in the Berkshires, highlighting her “nature-first” style. More Continue reading

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Step Inside Petrit Halilaj’s Monumental Nest of Oversized Flowers Within Reina Sofia’s Palacio de Cristal
August 28, 2020

Bowerbirds are renowned for one of the most unusual courtship behaviors in the animal kingdom, where males build elaborately decorated nests—called bowers—in an attempt to court a mate. Kosovar visual artist Petrit Halilaj drew inspiration from this unique ritual for his first solo exhibition at Reina Sofia’s Palacio de Cristal (previously) in Madrid. Titled “To a raven and the hurricanes which bring back smells of humans in love from unknown places,” the installation serves as a metaphorical nest that connects the inside and outside spaces of the palace and features several avian elements like trays of birdseed and a giant pair of bird’s feet that descend from above. More 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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Lyrical Illustrations by Käthe Butcher Explore Femininity, Emotion, and Human Intimacy
August 7, 2020

As widespread lockdowns swept the globe earlier this year in response to the threat of COVID-19, intimacy became fraught. For artist Käthe Butcher, the loss of an embrace or casual peck on the cheek was incredibly difficult. “The pandemic affected everyone differently. I always thought I am not that kind of person getting scared or/and paranoid easily, but in March I did. I panicked and felt very alone, which was one reason why I left London at the end of March to go back to my family. More Continue reading

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“Healing” by Artist Evan M. Cohen
August 4, 2020

Another lovely comic from New York-based artist and illustrator Evan M. Cohen (previously featured here).   I can see the forest In the distance, I can hear my name From above, I am alive, I am magnetic, The Earth pulls at my love. She wakes me With her electric skies, She shows me How to … Continued Continue reading

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