Join PAFA This Fall for a Unique and Flexible Art-School Experience
April 14, 2021

100% of students receive merit scholarships; Fall ’21 applications are open
Finding an art college that best fits your desires and wallet can be challenging. Studio arts training should provide the foundational skills, intellectual context, discipline, and creativity needed for a lifelong pursuit of making art. An art-school experience that supports student development through curriculum, highly-mentored education, training in the business of being an artist, and access to a world-class museum sounds like an unattainable dream. More Continue reading

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Graphite Portraits Distort and Intertwine Subjects to Visualize Metaphors of the Body
April 12, 2021

Malmö, Sweden-based artist Miles Johnston portrays subjects whose figures are in states of flux, whether through fragmented bodies, multiplied faces, or limbs contorted into impossible positions. Often depicting Johnston (previously) or his partner, the graphite portraits distort typical anatomy in a way that balances the familiar with the unknown and visualizes the thoughts and emotions otherwise hidden inside the mind.
Whether set against a trippy backdrop or quiet beach, each piece portrays the experience of the body “through a kind of internal metaphorical language,” the artist says. More Continue reading

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Meticulous Digital Works Layer Petals, Leaves, and Natural Textures into Fantastic Creatures
March 9, 2021

Melbourne-based artist Josh Dykgraaf has a discerning eye for matching two seemingly disparate elements. In his ongoing Terraforms series, autumn leaves become feathers, magnolia petals wind into scales, and plumes form fins that swish through water. Each illustration merges flora and fauna into an entirely new fantastical creature, and a single piece can take days to complete, with the pair of Tawny Frogmouths, for example, clocking in at 55 hours and more than 3,000 layers. More Continue reading

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The First USPS Stamp Designed by an Alaska Native Artist Features a Trickster Raven as It Steals the Sun
February 19, 2021

When it’s released later this summer, a new stamp from the U.S. Postal Service will illuminate a piece of Indigenous culture that’s long been associated with an escape from darkness. Titled “Raven Story,” the history-making postage features an iconic animal rendered by Rico Lanáat’ Worl, who is the first Tlingit and Athabascan artist to be featured by U.S.P.S. Awash with twinkling stars, the stamp portrays a black bird grasping the sun in its beak as it breaks from its human family. More Continue reading

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Fantastical Cartoons, Robotic Pets, and Vibrant Architecture Populate Digital Illustrations by Ori Toor
February 18, 2021

In Ori Toor’s Gibberish universe, it’s not uncommon to see bulbous cartoon creatures, leaves sprouting from pockets of machinery, or tunnels wrapped in rainbows. Set against solid backdrops, the digitally rendered dreamlands are teeming with fantastical elements and whimsy as Toor plays with scale and shape, planting a yellow pyramid or robotic cat on varying planes. Each drawing evolves naturally, a process Toor likens to creating a “Rorschach painting and trying to figure out what you’re seeing and then continuing work. More Continue reading

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Write for Rights: An Illustrated Campaign for Amnesty International Aims to Free People Who Are Imprisoned
February 17, 2021

A new campaign for Amnesty International exemplifies the power of the pencil in a moving series of illustrations by Bristol-based Owen Gent. Led by creative agency Cossette, the initiative was was designed for Write for Rights, an annual effort striving to free people around the world who are imprisoned unjustly. In the last two decades, it’s proven highly effective and boasted a 75 percent success rate after helping release 127 people. 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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Expressive Portraits, Line Drawings, and Foliage Are Superimposed into Rich Illustrations by Ana Santos
February 11, 2021

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. More Continue reading

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RISD Continuing Education Announces 140+ Online Courses This Spring
February 1, 2021

Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education is excited to announce more than 140 online courses for adults and teens this spring—including RISD’s Advanced Program for High School Students. RISD CE Certificate Programs are now being offered 100% online.
Continuing Education students can take online classes from anywhere in the world, at any time of day or night. Courses are taught by professional artists, designers, and makers, and RISD CE is open admission—everyone is welcome. More Continue reading

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The Blue Hour: Lyrical Illustrations Catalog a Menagerie of Specimens in Earth’s Rarest Pigment
January 21, 2021

French illustrator and author Isabelle Simler deftly renders the liminal time surrounding dusk through a poetic exploration of Earth’s rarest color. The Blue Hour winds through the natural world on a journey to spot the pigment, from a bluejay resting on ice-coated branches to robin’s eggs to midnight skies and ocean depths. Simler focuses on “this time of day, when daytime animals enjoy the last moments before nighttime animals wake up. More Continue reading

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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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Around the Block: David Zinn’s Quirky Chalk Cartoons Spring to Life in a New Short Film
January 15, 2021


If you’ve walked the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the last few decades, you’ve probably spotted the wide-eyed monsters and mischievous dragons of David Zinn (previously). Since 1987, the artist has been drawing chalk-and-charcoal creatures in site-specific works that wash away with the rain. Drain pipes become robotic dogs, a pillar morphs into a giant pencil, and a green monster pops out of a brick walkway.
A new short film directed by Jonnie Lewis dives into Zinn’s practice by animating his signature cartoon cast that greets the artist as he walks around the city. More Continue reading

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Minuscule Scenes Appear Against the Backdrop of Used Tea Bags in Watercolor Paintings by Ruby Silvious
December 22, 2020

From her studio in Coxsackie, New York, Ruby Silvious (previously) repurposes the thin paper pouches holding her beverage of choice into miniature canvases. Sometimes strung together or ripped to remove the leaves, Silvious’s tea bags depict the quiet, unassuming moments of everyday life: Passersby trudge through the snow, masks hang to dry, and two women meet for a swim on the naturally dyed backdrops. The artist generally keeps the string and tag attached, matching the mundane subject matter with the material’s ritualistic origins. More Continue reading

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