animals

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Illustration

Whimsy and Vintage Illustrations Merge in Colorful Stippled Tattoos by Joanna Swirska

February 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Joanna Swirska, shared with permission

Amidst delicate black lines and stippled shading, Polish tattoo artist Joanna Swirska (previously) inks splashes of bright pigments. Her works blend fanciful elements with elegant illustrations of flora and fauna, like her signature ferns and detailed monsteras colored with bright green gradients. Often covering an entire upper arm or calf, the tattoos are whimsical in both subject matter and style, depicting raccoons dressed in orange hooded capes, birds perching on berry-studded branches, and cheerful cats riding retro cruisers.

Swirska, who’s known as Dzo Lama, lives in the Karkonosze mountains and works between Jelenia Gora and Wroclaw, where she runs Nasza Tattoo Shop. Her books are closed until July, but keep an eye out for future openings on her Instagram. You can also pick up prints, mugs, and other goods adorned with her illustrated characters on Etsy.

 

 

 



Art

Decorative Papercuts in White and Gold Compose Patrick Cabral's Meticulously Layered Sculptures

February 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Patrick Cabral, shared with permission

Patrick Cabral re-envisions the intricate veins striping the tail of a fish and grooves in a pangolin’s scales with delicate, lace-like flourishes. The Manila-based artist is known for his sculptural portraits of wild animals and fantastical creatures that layer hundreds of paper cutouts into stunning three-dimensional works. Primarily composed with white, Cabral’s most recent pieces utilize gold for trimming a hippo’s facial features and heightening the depth and texture of the coiling, intertwined bodies of a dragon and its rival. The metallic material also adds contrast to a pair of koi swimming in a circular yin and yang formation.

Currently, Cabral is finishing a few works that will be exhibited from March 18 to 20 as part of Xavier Art Fest, a group exhibition raising money for victims of Typhoon Rai that devastated the southern Philippines last December. Check out his Instagram to see a variety of commissions and personal projects, in addition to a short video detailing his painstaking hand-carving and gluing process.

 

 

 



Illustration

Intricate Cross-Hatching Layers Elena Limkina's Exquisite Illustrations in Black Ink

February 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Elena Limkina, shared with permission

From her studio in Moscow, Elena Limkina (previously) illustrates pages upon pages of sketchbooks with delicate studies of birds, architectural flourishes, and surreal compositions that trap cats and small mice inside glass vessels. She’s spent a decade drawing these elegant compositions, and while they originally functioned as diaries filled with objects, phrases, and impressions she encountered throughout her day, they’ve evolved into narratives unto themselves with recurring characters and motifs.

Frequently working in watercolor, the artist uses solely black ink, pencil, or pen in her sketchbooks, and the meticulous illustrations are shaded with circular crosshatching. “I like the complexity of the task—to convey feelings, emotions, form, without using color,” she says. “I use some parts of the sketches in intaglio printing (etchings, aquatint), and I would like to transfer some of them to large canvases and sculptures in the future.”

Limkina sells originals and prints on Etsy, and you can explore an archive of her monochromatic works on Instagram and Behance.

 

 

 



Art

Coiled Cats, Parrots, and Deer Form a Menagerie of Metal Animal Sculptures by Lee Sangsoo

February 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Lee Sansgsoo, shared with permission

Lee Sangsoo (previously) bends angular strips of metal into coiled bellies and long, curled tails that form the bodies of his colorful creatures. The Seoul-based artist is known for his minimal sculptures in stainless steel that mimic line drawings in three dimensions. Shaped with as few metal components as possible and painted in subtle gradients or fantastical hues, Lee’s animals range from a pair of cats and a parrot on a perch to deer and flamingos, all of which exude energy and vitality.

The artist has a solo exhibition in Singapore slated for July, and you can see more of his process, which starts with digital renderings before he shapes the final forms, on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Intricate Beaded Motifs Add Colorful Dimension to Jan Huling's Animal Sculptures

February 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Hero” (2019), 27 x 22 x 8 inches. All images © Jan Huling, shared with permission

A former product designer turned bead artist, Jan Huling begins each sculpture with a blank form in the shape of a miniature horse, giant praying mantis, and eager monkey perched on a box. She then glues small glass pieces in meandering lines, concentric circles, and other elaborately constructed motifs. “I don’t sketch out designs beforehand,” she tells Colossal. “Rather I let my designs grow organically and let the work itself inspire me.”

Each embellishment is a study of color, texture, and form, with some patterns structuring facial features like the radiant eyes of the nine-foot “Das Bug” and others adding hypnotic ornaments like the intersecting patches that span the length of the tail in “KoKo.” Although Huling shares that she doesn’t translate any specific motifs, she’s drawn to Huichol traditions and the fantastical alebrije sculptures of Mexico, in addition to Indian artists, Nick Cave (previously), and Tim Burton.

Huling, who’s based in Jersey City Heights, will have sculptures on view at Art Market San Francisco this April through Duane Reed Gallery, and her billowing dress titled “The Gown” is headed to the Museum of Beadwork this summer. Explore a collection of her intricate creations on her site and Instagram. (via Women’s Art)

 

“Hero” (2019), 27 x 22 x 8 inches

Detail of “Das Bug” (2015), 61 x 69 x 110 inches

“Das Bug” (2015), 61 x 69 x 110 inches

Detail of “Das Bug” (2015), 61 x 69 x 110 inches

“KoKo” (2011), 48 x 15 x 24 inches

Detail of “KoKo” (2011), 48 x 15 x 24 inches

 

 



Photography

Rectangular Black Boxes Enclose Coiling Serpents in Guido Mocafico's Disorienting Photos

January 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

Atheris squamigera. All images © Guido Mocafico, shared with permission

A puzzling blend of heads, tails, and scales, Guido Mocafico’s Serpens juxtaposes snakes’ coiled bodies with the tight confines of a small, rectangular box. The Italian photographer positions two or more slithering creatures against the black backdrops and shoots the composed images from overhead. Each reptile is so entwined that it’s difficult to tell them apart, resulting in a chaotic and disorienting mix of color, texture, and depth.

Mocafico is known for the distinct still lifes that define his commercial work and personal projects, which include striking series focused on organisms like anemones, jellyfish, and arachnids, to name a few. Explore an expansive archive of his photography on his site.

 

Elaphe taeniura friesi

Naja samarensis

Dendroaspis angusticeps

Top left: Coluber viridiflavus. Top right: Vipera ammodytes. Bottom left: Boa constrictor. Bottom right: Agkistrodon bilineatus taylori

Bitis rhinoceros

Top left: Crotalus polystictus. Top right: Agkistradon bilineatus bilineatus. Bottom left: Naja kaouthia albinos. Bottom right: Naja naja

Leiopython albertisi