This Japanese Zoo is Using Stuffed Capybaras to Visualize Social Distancing
May 22, 2020

Take a seat for lunch at Izu Shabonten Zoo in Shizuoka, Japan, and meet your plush dining partners. To help restaurant patrons visualize social distancing guidelines, the zoo has occupied chairs with stuffed capybaras. The soft toys encourage diners to space out among the tables and maintain an appropriate distance.
With only a few other cuddly creatures in the mix, the institution’s main choice is a nod to its decades-long fascination with the giant rodent. More Continue reading

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Inexpensive Toys Fashioned into Unique Action Figures by Artist Tomohiro Yasui
March 8, 2020

Tomohiro Yasui is best known as the creator of the paper robot wrestlers called kami-robo, but that’s not the only medium his imagination has conquered. Using wire and cheap rubber duckies, squirting frogs, and plastic hammers, the Japanese artist builds posable action figures that deserve their own Saturday morning cartoons and comic books.
Having spent the past 35 years designing paper robots and plastic toys, Yasui is an expert when it comes to humanoid anatomy in dynamic poses. More Continue reading

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Nevermore Park Manifests the Fictional Universe of Hebru Brantley’s Flyboy and Lil Mama
March 5, 2020

Packed within a 6,000-square-foot space on Chicago’s south side is a fictional universe teeming with pinned up newspaper clippings, towers of retro electronics, and tons of vintage advertising from McDonald’s to Vienna Hot Dogs. It’s the world of Hebru Brantley’s iconic characters, Lil Mama and Flyboy, whose enlarged head rests on the floor in one room of the immersive installation, titled Nevermore Park. Moving through the pathways lined with plastic toys and paint-spattered pallets, visitors pass a downed spaceship and a brick wall of street art, elements that structure Brantley’s narrative for the surreal environment. More Continue reading

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Minimalist Ceramics by Amy Victoria Marsh Exude Positivity and Playfulness
February 10, 2020

Relying on a simple color palette, Amy Victoria Marsh crafts minimalist ceramics meant to inspire positivity and humor. The Manchester-based artist creates playful pieces ranging from supine women reading to others wrapped up on a sushi bed to her “Happy Poo” collection. Her pastel fortune cookie even comes in an illustrated package with an uplifting saying stuffed inside.
Marsh tells It’s Nice That that much of her lighthearted work has been inspired by a 2016 visit to Japan. More Continue reading

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Miniature Creatures Made of Felted Wool by Nastasya Shuljak
January 31, 2020

Moscow-based artist Nastasya Shuljak transforms packs of wool into sculptures of small animals and other whimsical creatures. Plants sprout from the heads of smiling trees and other natural spirits. Polar bears, foxes, hares, and other critters stare through inquisitive eyes applied to their tiny woolen faces. Shuljak’s toys are an exercise in the flexibility of the material and also a way to bring joy to all who meet them.
Shuljak, a former theater artist and art teacher, tells Colossal that the practice of making creatures began when friends gifted her some wool. More Continue reading

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