Behind each one of Alvaro Naddeo’s watercolor paintings is an imagined character who’s built a rickety shopping cart structure or gathered waste materials for a tiny, mobile dwelling. “I believe they are strong people, resilient, and survivalists,” the Brazilian artist tells Colossal. “They use creativity to overcome obstacles and adapt to any situation they are put in. So in a way, both of them, characters and discarded objects, are proof that there’s value in everything if you know where to look for it.”
A cowgirl named Rose and her eccentric pals embark on a mission to find the man damaging their local environment in the clever and fervent short film “Spell of the West.” Created by Los Angeles-based Sam Lane during her third year at CalArts, the animation follows the group’s wayward journey through the roving hills and sentient forests as they search for the ax-wielding tyrant who’s chopping down trees and demolishing their cactus farm.
Simultaneously witty and sincere, “Spell of the West” is imbued with magical undertones and a message that there’s more to environmental destruction than the loss of ecosystems. Lane explains to Short of the Week:
Most scientific work falls short of capturing the emotional aspect of human/nature relationships. In order to protect our natural surroundings, it’s important to know the dry facts, but it’s also important to establish an emotional human connection. Narrative is a prime rhetorical tool, and I was interested in re-framing the environmental conversation with a deep respect and poetic appreciation for the natural world.
Bulgarian artist Ognyan Stefanov pairs his day job as an aviation photographer with an equally lofty practice of crafting lavish architectural miniatures that soar high in the air. One of his creations is this utopic village, aptly named “Skyville,” which was designed as a self-sustaining enclave complete with shops, farms and gardens, a library, and a few homes, including the main house with the individually tiled pitched roof. Posted atop a latticed tower, the heavily landscaped town was designed to mimic real functionality with a water drainage system, pulleys, and walkways that climb from level to level.
Created at a 1⁄87 scale and spanning 36 x 16 inches, the 60-pound model took Stefanov two years to complete and is an amalgamation of wooden stirrers, popsicle sticks, and photo-etching techniques. Each scene is crafted with meticulous detail, from the luxe interiors filled with a chandelier, wrought iron bed frame, and framed artworks to the architectural elements like the wooden beams and circular windows. Even the minuscule characters appear to be in the middle of a task.
Check out Stefanov’s page dedicated to “Skyville” to see the work in progress and more glimpses of its richly decorated interiors.
2020 – the year of the global coronavirus pandemic. Like many other sectors, the art world had to close down. Museums closed, exhibitions were postponed, no more auctions or activities not considered “essential” could take place. After the shock, you have to reinvent yourself. It’s more than an opportunity, it’s a must for survival.
And so, even the world of artists and museums began to crank up the engine of innovation, accelerating trends that were still quite niche or experimenting with new ideas that had never been encountered before. The result of these innovations, described in the “Hiscox online art trade report 2020” about the market of online solutions for art, is an increasingly hybrid world where things are likely to be blurred, which is evolving but is also more robust and prepared for future changes. Let’s look at how this has happened.
Though he died in 1995, the late TV painter remains an omnipresent cultural staple. His Chia Pet perm, nap-inducing voice, and meme-worthy sayings — “Happy little trees!” — have transcended time. On YouTube, old episodes of his show, The Joy of Painting, boast ~450m views.
Online, you can acquire Bob Ross paints, Bob Ross brushes, Bob Ross underwear, Bob Ross coffee mugs, Bob Ross energy drinks, Bob Ross watches, and Bob Ross toasters.
But there’s one thing you won’t often see for sale: his artwork.
Scan the World might be one of the only institutions where visitors are encouraged to handle the most-valued sculptures and artifacts from art history. The open-source museum hosts an impressive archive of 18,000 digital scans—the eclectic collection spans artworks like the “Bust of Nefertiti,” the “Fourth Gate of Vaubam Fortress,” and Michaelangelo’s “David” in addition to other items like chimpanzee skulls—that are available for download and 3D printing in a matter of hours.
Searchable by collection, artist, and location, Scan the World recently teamed up with Google Arts and Culture, which partners with more than 2,000 institutions, to add thousands of additional pieces to the platform. Each page shares information about an artifact’s history and location, in addition to technical details like dimensions, complexity, and time to print—scroll down on to view images of finished pieces uploaded by the community, too. While much of the collection focuses on Western art, it’s currently bolstering two sections that explore works from India and China.
Paired with static, beeps, and soft melodic sequences, a series of glowing geometric shapes by Reuben Wu (previously) appear to emerge from the air in his new project, EX STASIS. Created in his signature otherworldly style, the Chicago-based photographer draws on both his Lux Noctis and Aeroglyph series, which use a combination of drones and light painting, to illuminate the rugged topographies with rings, tubes, and dots that spin and contort in hypnotic motion.
For EX STASIS, Wu programmed a stick of 200 LED lights to shift in color and shape above the calm landscapes. He captured the mesmerizing movements in-camera, and through a combination of stills, timelapse, and real-time footage, produced four audiovisual works that juxtapose the natural scenery with the artificially produced light and electronic sounds. “As it gets dark, my surroundings cease to be an exterior experience and become a subliminal space, and that’s when I feel most connected and aware of my sense of being,” Wu says. “This dynamic terrestrial chiaroscuro synchronizes with my sound design and music to form singular looping pieces.”
Japanese printmaking was one of Vincent’s main sources of inspiration and he became an enthusiastic collector. The prints acted as a catalyst: they taught him a new way of looking at the world.
But did his own work really change as a result?
In Laurent Grasso’s Future Herbarium, small bunches of flowers evolve into bizarre forms with doubled pistils and petals sprouting in thick layers and tufts. Painted in distemper or oil, the transformed blooms are depicted as typical studies of specimens common in the 18th century. The mutations bring together historical aesthetics and transformations from an imagined future, provoking “an impression of strangeness where beauty and anxiety are mixed,” the Paris-based artist says.
In this paper, we present a novel hypothesis as to what led humans in the Upper Paleolithic to penetrate and decorate deep, dark caves. Many of the depictions in these caves are located in halls or narrow passages deep in the interior, navigable only with artificial light. We simulated the effect of torches on oxygen concentrations in structures similar to Paleolithic decorated caves and showed that the oxygen quickly decreased to levels known to induce a state of hypoxia. Hypoxia increases the release of dopamine in the brain, resulting in hallucinations and out-of-body experiences. We discuss the significance of caves in indigenous world views and contend that entering these deep, dark environments was a conscious choice, motivated by an understanding of the transformative nature of an underground, oxygen-depleted space. The cave environment was conceived as both a liminal space and an ontological arena, allowing early humans to maintain their connectedness with the cosmos. It was not the decoration that rendered the caves significant; rather, the significance of the chosen caves was the reason for their decoration.
Old Book Illustrations was born of the desire to share illustrations from a modest collection of books, which we set out to scan and publish. With the wealth of resources available online, it became increasingly difficult to resist the temptation to explore other collections and include these images along with our own. Although it would have been possible to considerably broaden the time-frame of our pursuit, we chose to keep our focus on the original period in which we started for reasons pertaining to taste, consistency, and practicality: due to obvious legal restrictions, we had to stay within the limits of the public domain. This explains why there won’t be on this site illustrations first published prior to the 18th century or later than the first quarter of the 20th century.
Argentinian director Fernando Livschitz (previously), who helms Black Sheep Films, is back with a surreal short film that envisions everyday activities and scenes with a slightly unsettling spin. Infused with Livschitz’s distinct penchant for humor and absurdity, “Anywhere Can Happen” is set to a rendition of “What a Wonderful World” by Reuben and the Dark and AG and descends into an uncanny universe of galactic rollercoasters, dimension-traveling trains, and oversized hands keen on manipulating the landscape. Watch the animated short above, and find more of Livschitz’s cleverly bizarre projects on Vimeo and Instagram.
Meet Ralph, a modest rabbit whose life revolves around his role as a product tester. A new stop-motion animation follows the creature throughout a typical day as he struggles to brush his teeth, shudders from back pain, and undergoes a painful round of trials for various beauty-related goods. Opening with his descriptions of the extensive damage already sustained to his hearing and sight, “Save Ralph” is the latest campaign for the Humane Society of the United States and a poignant and heartbreaking critique of animal testing.
I’m trying to explain to Arthur I. Miller why artworks generated by computers don’t quite do it for me. There’s no human being behind them. The works aren’t a portal into another person’s mind, where you can wander in a warren of intention, emotion, and perception, feeling life being shaped into form. What’s more, it often seems, people just ain’t no good, so it’s transcendent to be reminded they can be. Art is one of the few human creations that can do that. Machine art never can because it’s not, well, human. No matter how engaging the songs or poems that a computer generates may be, they ultimately feel empty. They lack the electricity of the human body, the hum of human consciousness, the connection with another person. Miller, a longtime professor, a gentleman intellect, dressed in casual black, is listening patiently, letting me have my say. But I can tell he’s thinking, “This guy’s living in the past.”
When your next ambitious baking project doesn’t pan out, try your hand at a simpler recipe with just one ingredient. Follow Japan-based animator tomosteen through a stop-motion tutorial for a decadent cake layered with chocolate frosting that’s made entirely with LEGO. The ASMR-inducing animation chronicles the baking process from cracking an egg into a yolky block to watching the batter subtly change color to crumbling individual bricks of chocolate for the top. For similar pastry builds like French toast, churros, and a triple-layer cheesecake, head to tomosteen’s YouTube. (via The Kids Should See This)
In Vitor Schietti’s Impermanent Sculptures, thick treetops and branches are swollen with light that appears to drip down in incandescent rays. Each photograph frames the nighttime scenes in a dreamy, energetic manner as the glowing beams both outline and obscure the existing landscapes. Schietti shot the pieces shown here in February and March of 2021 around his hometown, Brasília, but the ongoing series first was developed in 2015.
“Simultaneously stunning and filthy” is how director Pascal Schelbli describes his 2019 short film “The Beauty.” A cautionary reimagining of the world’s rampant plastic pollution, the arresting animation reenvisions waste as lively sea life: a bubble-wrap fish puffs up, a serpentine tire glides through the water, and an entire school of discarded footwear swims in an undulating mass.