Massive Octopi and Floating Fish Comprise the Imaginary Universe in Ted Chin’s Surreal Composites
January 8, 2021

In Ted Chin’s surreal dreamland, it’s not uncommon to see massive anglerfish swimming through the sky or a figure scooping up shooting stars. The San Francisco-based artist merges idyllic landscapes and outdoor scenes with fantastical details, choosing to upturn an evergreen in mid-air or position an oversized octopus underneath a floating house. Simultaneously uncanny and calming, the composites are eye-catching and rooted in imagination. “There are things in the world that inspire childlike wonder and awe, and it is my passion to recreate and share them with the world,” the artist says. More Continue reading

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ABC Art
December 31, 2020

A 1965 essay surveying the latest avant-garde sculpture, film, dance, and literature, and identifying the shared sensibility that united the important work. Continue reading

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A Rare Photograph Captures ISS Moving Between Jupiter and Saturn During the Great Conjunction

On December 22, Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer together in the sky than they have since March 4, 1226. The nearly 800-year event is known as the Great Conjunction, which occurs to some extent every two decades. In true 2020 fashion, though, this year’s meeting was the most acute in centuries.
Like others around the globe, photographer Jason De Freitas shot the event, although his image is particularly fortuitous because it frames the International Space Station flying between the glowing planets. More Continue reading

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A Forgotten Pinhole Camera Made from a Beer Can Captures the Longest Exposure Photograph Ever
December 16, 2020

Eight years one month. That’s how long a beer can pinhole camera spent capturing this solargraph at the University of Hertfordshire’s Bayfordbury Observatory. Featuring 2,953 light trails of the sun’s movement, the image is thought to be the longest exposure photograph in existence, surpassing Michael Wesely’s record of four years eight months.
Then an MFA student at the university, Regina Valkenborgh set up the camera in 2012 and subsequently forgot about it. More Continue reading

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Geometric Drone Paths Illuminate the Otherworldly Landscapes of the Southwest in Photos by Reuben Wu
November 25, 2020

During recent years, Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu has visited quiet regions in Bolivia, Nevada’s SolarReserve, and the rivers of molten sulfur flowing in Indonesian volcanoes to capture the natural grandeur of the earth’s outmost layer. In each location, Wu highlights the land’s beauty by juxtaposing the organic features with artificial light cast by drones flying overhead. The resulting images, of which Wu boasts a rich and diverse collection, employ illuminated geometric shapes to spotlight individual features. More Continue reading

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Vertical Cities Soar Into the Sky in Otherworldly Digital Paintings by Artist Raphael Vanhomwegen
November 6, 2020

Raphael Vanhomwegen describes his process as “visual brainstorming,” a technique that involves rendering his digital paintings quickly “to keep a spontaneous going-with-the-flow feeling.” The Belgium-based artist depicts vertically built cities with houses, shops, and stairwells that spring up from a hillside or body of water. Whether in technicolor, neutral shades, or moody grays, the soaring architecture is otherworldly and even foreboding as it appears to peek through surrounding fog. In many works, a few figures are perched on the balcony or a swarm of birds flies overhead. More Continue reading

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Considering Complexity and Ritual, an Imaginary Universe Emerges from Psychedelic Digital Illustrations

Luis Toledo has a knack for building ethereal universes. The Madrid-based artist, who works under the moniker Laprisamata, digitally illustrates otherworldly scenes and composite characters formed from vibrant blocks of color, patterns, and mundane objects, like pineapples and leaves. “I am interested in working on the complexity of human beings and animals, working against the medical anatomy atlases that try to simplify living beings. Nature always develops complex shapes, and I try to imitate that,” he tells Colossal. More Continue reading

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Mesmerizing Shots of Distant Galaxies and Aurorae Top the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest
September 16, 2020

The 2020 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest gathers a trove of sublime shots capturing otherwise unseen phenomena and distant fixtures of outer space. With more than 5,000 entries from six continents, the 12th annual competition includes Nicolas Lefaudeux’s photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy two million light-years away, one by Rafael Schmall that frames the lit trails of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites, and another of the Aurora Borealis reflecting on the ice by Kristina Makeeva (previously). More Continue reading

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Perception-Twisting Miniatures by Artist Frank Kunert Transform the Mundane into the Surreal
July 31, 2020

Frank Kunert (previously) is a Germany-based photographer and modelmaker who creates mind-stretching scenes that, from afar, appear like everyday urban environments with the same beige color palette and concrete walls that are common across the world. On closer inspection, though, Kunert’s work reveals itself to be a series of surreal scenarios—he takes viewers on a fantastical journey in which mundane objects are transformed and merged into unusual architectural scenes that explore the “absurdity of life.”
In one work, a cot is sandwiched in the middle of a desk and bookcases, while in another, two old stools sitting on a small carpet face a large window that resides high in the sky, with two minuscule glasses of rosy wine positioned beside them. More Continue reading

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Bright Comet NEOWISE Captured Shooting Above Mount Hood by Photographer Lester Tsai
July 16, 2020

Throughout July, Comet NEOWISE has been visible to those in the northern hemisphere as it orbits the sun. Portland-based photographer Lester Tsai recently traveled to Mount Hood to capture the phenomena as it shoots over Oregon’s highest mountain in a remarkable set of images. One of the brightest comets in decades, NEOWISE won’t make another appearance in the inner solar system for 6,800 years.
Tsai recounted the experience, describing the necessary preparation and the efforts to determine the frozen object’s probable visibility. More Continue reading

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Hundreds of Photos of the New York Sky Pinned to a Massive, Spherical Sculpture by Sarah Sze
June 11, 2020

Artist Sarah Sze explores the myriad conceptions of time and space through a tremendous, new spherical sculpture. Titled “Shorter than the Day” —a reference to Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death,” which considers the comfort found in life’s finality—Sze’s piece weighs five tons and was unveiled Thursday at LaGuardia Airport. It is suspended above an atrium in Terminal B.
The New York-based artist captures the magnitude of the upper atmosphere as it changes from bright blue morning to a vibrant sunset to the rich hues of the night through nearly 1,000 photographs of the sky. More Continue reading

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Watch the Earth Rotate for 24 Hours in an Entrancing Timelapse Centering the Sky
June 2, 2020


With a camera peering out over the landscape of Tivoli, Namibia, Bartosz Wojczyński focused on the sky. The Polish photographer created a hypnotic timelapse spanning 24 hours that has a focal point in the atmosphere rather than on the land. Each minute, he snapped a frame that subsequently was looped 60 times to create the final 24-minute version that’s a mesmerizing look at Earth’s cycles.
According to PetaPixel, Wojczyński’s camera was attached to an SW Star Adventurer, which is designed to assist in celestial photography. More Continue reading

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