All images © Ememem, shared with permission

Throughout his home city of Lyon, Ememem is known as “the pavement surgeon.” The artist repairs gouged sidewalks and splintered facades with colorful mosaics that he describes as “a poem that everybody can read.” Intricate geometric motifs laid with pristine tiles hug the cracks and create “a memory notebook of the city. It reveals what happened, the life in these public places,” he tells Colossal. “Here cobblestones have been picked up and thrown. There a truck from the vegetable market tore off a piece of asphalt…”

Ememem’s first mosaic dates back 10 years when he found himself in a damaged alley in Lyon. At that time, he already was working in ceramic and translated that practice to revitalizing the outdoor area. Since 2016, he’s been consistently filling potholes and other divots throughout France. “It’s a succession of a lot of places and reflections, … Read the rest

Manoir, Taiwan Manor, Taiwan. All images © Jonk, shared with permission

From dilapidated power plants, abandoned medical facilities, and amusement parks left in rusted ruin, the compelling scenes that French photographer Jonathan Jimenez, aka Jonk (previously), captures are evidence of nature’s endurance and power to reclaim spaces transformed by people. Now compiled in a new book titled Naturalia II, 221 images shot across 17 countries frame the thriving vegetation that crawls across chipped concrete and architecture in unruly masses.

This succeeding volume is a follow-up to Jonk’s first book by the same name and focuses on the ways the ecological crisis has evolved during the last three years. He explains the impetus for the book in a statement:

On the one hand, the situation has deteriorated even further with yet another species becoming extinct every single day. Global warming continues and has caused repeated natural catastrophes: floods, fires, droughts,

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“Sleeping Greek Woman” in the upper Austrian pre-alps. All images © Bernhard Lang, shared with permission

There’s a long history of connecting natural occurrences and pareidolia, or the inclination to see an object or find meaning where it physically doesn’t exist. The psychological phenomenon is responsible for a range of human experiences from the childhood pastime of cloud watching to the Rorschach test to the idea that there’s a man in the moon and one that’s aided in naming some of the rocky formations photographed by Bernhard Lang (previously).

In Pareidolia—Mountain Faces, Lang documents both well-known and obscure landscapes that resemble human profiles when turned at a 90-degree angle. Many of the mountains in the series reference regional legends like “The Sleeping Witch” and “Sleeping Greek Woman,” while others are Lang’s own interpretation like “Golem,” which frames the highest peak of the Vršič Pass in Slovenia to reveal … Read the rest

“Mare Incognitum” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 27.5 × 27.5 inches. All images © Millo, courtesy of Thinkspace Projects, shared with permission

“Just before the beginning of a new day, there’s a fleeting moment where dreams remain alive,” says Italian muralist and artist Millo (previously) about his new series At the Crack of Dawn. On view through May 22 at Thinkspace Projects in Los Angeles, his acrylic paintings center on oversized subjects who embody the transitional state between deep sleep and waking. The artworks are rendered in Millo’s signature black-and-white, cartoon style and trap the slumbering characters in stark architectural settings. Flashes of color delineate their lulled and curious imaginations, showing a model solar system, sloshing sea, or quiet forest path that capture the “unconscious feelings passed through the haze of the shadow till the glimpse of light, shaping what is silent.”

To see more of Millo’s soothing body of work, … Read the rest

“The Sky” at Portland International Airport (2020), bamboo, resin, UV Prints, screenprints, and fiberglass rod, 40 x 30 x 18 feet. Photo by Mario Gallucci

Artist Jacob Hashimoto (previously) hangs thousands of individual orbs in undulating, cloud-like masses that transform atriums and open spaces into monumental landscapes. His site-specific installations layer organic elements—some of the components are printed with waves, galactic dust particles, and other motifs suggestive of nature—in formations “that climb, wavelike, above the viewer, dwarfing them in almost a cathedral of humble little objects,” he says.

The artist began creating such large-scale works in the 90s, and although they’ve evolved from simple “sculptures of the sky,” Hashimoto continues to draw on the connection between landscape and abstraction, a recurring theme that’s been increasingly informed by technology, virtual environments, and data mapping. An eclectic array of references like Japanese screens, Super Mario Bros, and the Digital Universe inform how … Read the rest

“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

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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

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“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