“Bullets and Denim #2” (2020), charcoal and graphite on paper, 30 x 26 inches. All images © Arinze Stanley, shared with permission

For the past few years, Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley (previously) has been at the forefront of hyperrealism with his powerful and sometimes surreal portraits that are arresting in size and emotion, which he discusses in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. His charcoal-and-graphite works are rendered in stunning detail and bear broader political messages, particularly in relation to state-sanctioned violence and his own experiences suffering from police and military brutality.

What people don’t recognize about Bullets and Denim is that the artwork shows emotion on all parts, but if you have a gunshot to your head, you should be dead, right? Well, these people in the photo are not dead. That encapsulates the concept of endurance in general. Even as we try to stitch the patches of

Read the rest

All images courtesy of Annan Affotey and Danny First, shared with permission

Annan Affotey has an affinity for bold, bright colors that set his subjects apart from the negative space framing their figures. Through gestural strokes that sweep across the canvas, the Ghanaian artist renders intimate portraits of his friends, family members, and the occasional public figure who, through distinctly red eyes, look directly at the viewer, a decision that’s both aesthetic and cultural.

“When I moved to the U.S. from Ghana, I was often questioned why my eyes were red and whether it meant I hadn’t slept or was doing drugs, neither of which was true. And it became a symbol for misinterpreted identities,” he says. That experience was complicated further by cultural expectations, which Affotey explains to Colossal:

I want the subject to have a direct conversation with the viewer, something I couldn’t do myself a few years

Read the rest

“AmeriCan’t” (2018), watercolor on paper, 20 x 22 inches. All images © Alvaro Naddeo, shared with permission

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.”

Evoking an alternative universe in a state of ruin, Naddeo (previously) renders ramshackle structures and vehicles—which only span a few inches—made primarily of outdated technology, rusted carts and frames, and a plethora of branded materials: a Marlboro sign props up an upper level, a Coca-Cola panel offers protection from the … Read the rest

“Easy Way Out” (2021) by Rustam QBic

Every month, Colossal shares a selection of opportunities for artists and designers, including open calls, grants, fellowships, and residencies. If you’d like to list an opportunity here, please get in touch at [email protected] You can also join our monthly Opportunities Newsletter.

 

Open Calls

Backroads: The Art Less-Travelled at Vestige Concept Gallery
This open call from Pittsburgh’s Vestige Concept Gallery seeks artworks that venture off the beaten path, especially with regard to travel, and is open to artists in the U.S. and Canada. Projects could include hidden gems, special or unusual spots, wanderings, odd travel, strange encounters, and or “lost” and fading places. The $25 application fee includes two submissions.
Deadline: May 22, 2021.

 

Residencies & Grants

The Barbara and Carl Zydney Grant for Artists with Disabilities
This unrestricted grant gives $1,000 to artists with a disability who have experienced financial hardship … Read the rest

“Street Dragon I” (2018), shoes, wire, and screws on a metal stand, 64.5 x 16 x 15.5 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse. All images © Willie Cole, courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York

New Jersey-based artist Willie Cole juxtaposes readymade footwear and African tradition in his series of sculptural masks. The figurative assemblages stack women’s heels into clusters that are expressive and distinctly unique, an effect Cole derives from the shoes’ material, color, and pattern rather than a preconceived plan or sketch. Depicting exaggerated toothy grins, pointed brows, and outstretched tongues, the sculptures span more than a decade of the artist’s career and influence a new collaboration with Comme des Garçons that’s comprised of headpieces made with black pumps.

Each piece is layered with cultural and societal markers, including those that comment on mass consumerism, fashion trends, and notions of femininity. This context is situated in time and place, … Read the rest

Terry Evans, “Lake Michigan Morning. Lakefront on north side of Chicago. July 23, 2003,” archival inkjet print on Hahnamuhle paper, paper size 13 x 15 inches, image size 12 x 12 inches. All images courtesy of CAAU

Following a horrifying number of anti-Asian hate crimes in recent months, a group of artists and activists in Chicago have teamed up for an ongoing fundraiser, Art Advancing Justice. The artwork and book sale is organized by  Chicago API Artists United (CAAU) and launched last week with a wave of support—many of the pieces sold within the first day—with proceeds going toward Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, an organization that’s been hosting bystander training and other advocacy and civic engagement endeavors as a way to build racial equity.

CAAU director and co-founder Greg Bae tells Colossal that the fundraiser and broader organization grew organically from a network of artists and art writers Read the rest

“The Nightowl” (2021), oil, embroidery thread, and yarn on canvas in a wood frame, 28 x 22 inches. All images courtesy of Paradigm Gallery, shared with permission

The lengthy exposure times required by 19th Century photography were not conducive to newborns and fidgety toddlers, a problem many mothers tried to remedy by cloaking themselves in fabric and hiding behind furniture. As a result, those Victorian-era portraits, while capturing an endearing stage of life, are often spectral and slightly unnerving, shadowed by phantom limbs and textile silhouettes that closely resemble an inanimate backdrop despite their lively features.

This desire for disguise informs the multi-media works of Philadelphia-area artist Sarah Detweiler, whose ongoing series Hidden Mother is on view at Paradigm Gallery through May 22. Depicted without children, Detweiler’s portraits subvert the original photographs to instead draw attention to the figures otherwise purposely relegated to the background. Fabrics rendered with a combination … Read the rest

Female blanket octopus in Palm Beach, Florida. All images licensed, © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

After sunset, self-taught photographer Steven Kovacs plunges into the open ocean around Palm Beach to shoot the minuscule, unassuming creatures floating in the depths. He’s spent the last eight years on blackwater dives about 730 feet off the eastern coast of Florida in a process that “entails drifting near the surface at night from 0 to 100 feet over very deep water.” Often framing species rarely seen by humans, Kovac shoots the larval fish against the dark backdrop in a way that highlights the most striking aspects of their bodies, including wispy, translucent fins, iridescent features, and bulbous eyes.

Because Kovacs doesn’t have formal training in marine biology, he often enlists the help of scientists around the world to identify many of the rare fish he photographs. At the top of his list for future encounters … Read the rest



In the 1940s, Toshiba began producing index typewriters with massive, horizontal cylinders containing thousands of symbols. One edition, the BW-2112—watch the demonstration by the New Orleans-based Typewriter Collector above to see how the redesign utilizes manual rotation and a metal pointer to print the characters—was a particularly advanced model with keys in three languages: Japanese, Chinese, and English.

The trilingual device ordered the characters in a manner similar to what you’d find in a Japanese dictionary, which is explained on the Typewriter Collector’s page as follows:

They’re arranged phonetically by most common “on-yomi” (or kun-yomi in some cases) according to the kana syllabary (many homophones, of course)… Red characters help parse the readings. Last character to left of equal sign can be pronounced “kin” (exert) and the first character in next row “gin” (silver), then “ku” (suffer) in red followed by “kuu” (sky, empty), “kuma” (bear), “kun” (teachings, meaning

Read the rest

“Veils of Knowledge” at Grenoble Street Art Festival in France. Photo by Andrea Berlese. All images © Rosie Woods, shared with permission

As if lifted by a breeze, oversized ribbons and bunches of fabric float across the trompe l’oeil murals by London-based artist Rosie Woods. The gleaming, prismatic textiles sway and subtly twist into folds and ripples in the spray-painted works. Through the flowing movements, Woods explores the fluid, ever-changing nature of the human experience by synthesizing abstraction and realism. She explains:

I often wonder what my soul would look like if it manifested itself as an object I could see and touch on this earth.  My artwork today looks to express the depth, growth, and complexity of the mind as well as its ability to encompass both light and dark spaces emotionally. I’d like to think you can “feel” my artwork with your eyes.

Woods translates her massive, lustrous … Read the rest