Garments of Grass and Flowers Fuse Jeanne Simmons’s Body to the Landscape
May 18, 2022

“When we spend a lot of time in a place, and if we are paying attention, a kind of intimacy develops,” says Jeanne Simmons. The artist, who’s based in the Pacific Northwest, grounds her practice in this sense of familiarity and ease with her surroundings. “We come to know the plants that grow there and the critters that roam there… We may even begin to feel that we ourselves have become part of that place, and it is this feeling that sustains and inspires me.”
After gathering natural materials like branches, wild vegetables, and bark, Simmons constructs garments that intertwine her own body with the landscape and obscure the distinction between the two. More Continue reading

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Repurposed Stained Glass Comprises a Disorienting Illuminated Greenhouse by Heywood & Condie
May 16, 2022

A brilliant greenhouse suffused with a rich spectrum of color stands at 25 Porchester Place in London. Bathed in sunlight by day and illuminated by LED bulbs at night, the translucent structure is lined with a disorienting collage of Christian iconography and folkloric imagery: saintly figures sprout insect wings and wildlife occupies spaces usually dominated by humans in a melange of spiritual symbols.
Titled “Sacré blur,” the greenhouse is a 2015 project by horticultural artists Tony Heywood and Alison Condie, who originally created the piece to house psychedelic plants at the Oxford Botanic Gardens—this part of the project never materialized over fears that students might misuse the hallucinatory specimens. More Continue reading

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Aerial Photos Document the Expansive Greenhouses Covering Spain’s Almería Peninsula
March 25, 2022

A follow-up to his series focused on the glow of LED-lit greenhouses, Tom Hegen’s new collection peers down on the landscape of Spain’s Almería peninsula. The German photographer is broadly interested in our impact on the earth and gears his practice toward the aerial, offering perspectives that illuminate the immense scale of human activity.
In The Greenhouse Series II, Hegen captures the abstract topographies of the world’s largest agricultural production center of its kind, which stretches across 360-square kilometers of rugged, mountainous terrain in the southern part of the country. More Continue reading

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Cheery Characters Enliven Vibrant, Whimsical Illustrations by Tania Yakunova
March 23, 2022

Ukrainian illustrator Tania Yakunova gravitates toward bold color palettes and clean lines to define her spirited characters. Set on monochromatic backdrops, her quirky scenes are tinged with whimsy and play with scale, surrounding the figures with low-hanging white stars, towering leaves, and oversized art supplies. Many of the Kyiv-based illustrator’s works involve a mix of digital and analog sketching with the final pieces rendered in paint.
In recent weeks, Yakunova has been creating a series of ceramics focused on mental health, alongside illustrations responding to the ongoing war in Ukraine. More Continue reading

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Musicians Harmonize with Plants and Birds in Gaspart’s Soothing Digital Illustrations
February 28, 2022

Twined with leafy vines, Gaspart’s series of digital illustrations titled Birds, Plants & Music emits the calming, lyrical presence we need right now. The collection, which was inspired by research detailing the effects of melodies and other audible compositions on vegetation, centers on lone instrumentalists with exaggerated limbs and gargantuan feet. Each casually sits on the ground or curls forward in a crouch to pluck the strings of an upright bass and buzz into a trumpet. More Continue reading

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Unearthly Plant Photos by Tom Leighton Highlight Nighttime Chemical Processes
January 30, 2022

Otherworldly in appearance, Tom Leighton’s photographs center on stems and leaves that emit a luminous glow, unveiling their delicate structures and highlighting their chemical processes. His Variegation II series reveals the nightlife of foliage—Leighton focuses on plants from Cornwall, some of which he grows in his garden and others farther afield—and examines what humans might have been able to see if our night vision had evolved.
The ongoing project also explores the possibilities of color manipulation. More Continue reading

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Teeming with Leaves and Grasses, Oil Paintings Cloaked in Lush Foliage Evoke the Forest Floor
January 14, 2022

Thick foliage in shades of green sprout from every inch of JA Paunkovic’s canvases. The Serbian husband-and-wife duo of Jelena and Aleksandar render luxuriant scenes brimming with realistic plant life. Patches of verdant grasses, shrubs, and flowering specimens sprawl across the oil-based works, which mimic the lush patches of vegetation that the pair encounters while hiking.  “Visiting (a) new environment becomes material that will later serve us in the studio as a sketch for a new painting,” Jelena shares. More Continue reading

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Dig Into an Enormous Archive of Drawings Unveiling the Complex Root Systems of 1,180 Plants
January 10, 2022

It’s generally understood that terrestrial plant life evolved from algae, one key to its successful adaptation being roots that sprawled underground to absorb important nutrients and water. Billions of years later, the fibrous networks are essential to life across the planet as they ensure the growth and health of individual specimens, help prevent erosion, and capture carbon from the air.
A collaborative project of the late botanists Erwin Lichtenegger and Lore Kutschera celebrates the power and beauty of these otherwise hidden systems through detailed drawings of agricultural crops, shrubs, trees, and weeds. More Continue reading

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Human Anatomy and Decomposing Flora Unveil a Surreal Mix of Dreams and Feelings in Rafael Silveira’s Portraits
December 29, 2021

In Rafael Silveira’s Unportraits, magenta curls and slick, turquoise coifs frame the bizarre scenarios unfolding in a subject’s mind. The Brazilian artist, who gravitates towards oil paints in shades of pink and blue, translates a character’s psyche through wilting flowers, gashes in the earth’s surface, and parrots with feathers that drip like wet paint. Anatomical elements like singular eyes, hearts sprouting veins, and twisting brain matter bolster the unearthly qualities of each work, which meld flora and fauna into a surreal mishmash. More Continue reading

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Snacks and Household Goods Are Fodder for Vanessa Mckeown’s Quirky Compositions
December 16, 2021

A scroll through Vanessa Mckeown’s Instagram reveals a bottomless trove of absurdity and the playfully unexpected: cooked spaghetti pours from a bronze tap, a tennis ball bounces off a tennis racket made of waffles, and a trio of donuts hangs from a toilet paper holder.
The London-based artist has an eye for the strange, quirky possibilities of humble everyday objects like snacks and plants, and her body of work extends back to 2015 when she photographed minimally composed interpretations on bright monochromatic backdrops. More Continue reading

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Colossal’s Favorite Books of 2021
December 8, 2021

Before we (eagerly) say goodbye to 2021, we’re taking a look back at the year, starting with the books we covered on Colossal. Throughout the past 12 months, we published dozens of articles centered on new artist monographs and tomes surveying broader topics that range from art and design to science and history. We’ve gathered our top 10 below, although you can browse nearly every title we mentioned on the site on Bookshop. More Continue reading

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Jane Goodall, Paul Nicklen, and 100 Photographers and Conservationists Join a Print Sale to Protect the Environment
December 3, 2021

A collaborative effort by 100 world-renowned photographers and conservationists is harnessing the power of an image to generate much-needed empathy and protect the environment. Helmed by the woman-led nonprofit Vital Impacts, an ongoing print sale captures the stunning, intimate, and remarkable sights of the natural world through a diverse array of works focused on the earth’s landscapes, plants, and animals. “As world leaders disperse to implement COP26, these photographers show us exactly what is at stake. More Continue reading

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Meticulous Sculptures by Artist Carol Long Highlight the Curved Lines and Colorful Embellishments Found in Nature
November 30, 2021

Honoring the humble shape of the vessel is at the center of Carol Long’s practice. From her studio in rural Kansas, the artist throws simple ceramic cylinders that she contorts into supple butterfly wings,  curved chrysalises, or vases with embellished handles.“When it comes off the potter’s wheel, that’s just the beginning,” she tells Colossal. “I usually sit for a second and look at the piece and see which way I can push it out or in.”
The resulting forms are evocative of both flora and fauna and traditional pottery, although Long’s sculptures emphasize smooth, sinuous walls and squiggly bases rather than angled edges. More Continue reading

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Best Kid’s Art, Craft, and Learning Kits to Give for the Holidays
November 20, 2021

Art activities are an excellent way to keep children busy while encouraging their creative spirit. Art lets their imaginations soar—plus they end up with a displayable keepsake. There are lots of ways for the young artists in your life to express themselves, whether through painting, textile art, paper crafts, or other pursuits. Streamline the process […] Continue reading

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Vibrant Murals by ‘Bicicleta Sem Freio’ Burst with Pop Culture and Cartoon Characters
October 4, 2021

Brazilian artists Douglas de Castro and Renato Reno (previously) are the duo behind Bicicleta Sem Freio, who paint large-scale murals that surround their subjects with a chaotic mix of cartoon characters, squiggly splashes, and brightly colored plants and animals. Their streetside pieces, which can be found in cities like New Dehli, Jerusalem, and Fortaleza, Brazil, balance local culture and references to popular imagery and tropical landscapes. “Our work is influenced by the ‘80s and ‘90s global and Brazilian pop culture,” they tell Colossal. More Continue reading

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Evoking Dutch Genre Paintings, Intimate Scenes Peer into the Lives of Mushroom Characters
September 27, 2021

In her ongoing series Human Nature, Dutch artist Bella Ormseth paints lavish domestic scenes inhabited by central mushroom characters and a cohort of plants and oversized insects. The evocative subjects stem from those the artist encounters around her home in Puget Sound off the coast of Washington and are human-like in their gestures and poses, whether draped over a chair during a nap, embracing over wine and oysters, or staring out the window. More Continue reading

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A Poetic Book Illustrated by Tiffany Bozic Explores the Vast Diversity of Trees with Childlike Curiosity
August 16, 2021

In her first body of work geared toward children, artist Tiffany Bozic (previously) showcases the naturally occurring whimsy and wonder of the outdoors through saturated color, texture, and unusual perspectives: An upward glance frames towering redwoods with rugged bark, elusive flying squirrels cling to a branch, and dried leaves, fungi, and berries form a thick, colorful layer of groundcover. “I wanted to inspire children to notice how beautiful and important nature is and recognize that we are also animals, a part of nature. More Continue reading

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