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Art

Vines and Flowers Intertwine with an Imposing Skeleton in an Elegant Graphite Drawing by Guno Park

August 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “Nature of Things,”  graphite/pencil on paper, 85 x 51.5 inches. All images © Guno Park, shared with permission

Brooklyn-based artist Guno Park evokes the tradition of memento mori with an exquisite new drawing highlighting the precarious line between life and death. Titled “Nature of Things,” the meticulously crosshatched piece rendered in graphite stands at a striking 85 inches, portraying the oversized human figure with botanicals winding around its spinal column and through its chest. “Putting the skeleton together with vine, leaves, and flowers represents for me the power of nature and its inevitability of continuum. I find comfort in nature,” the artist says.

Park shares that although skulls and bones are common subject matter, he relegated most to his sketchbook until magnifying the concept a few months into the pandemic. “This drawing has been a journey —as many drawings are—that started a little more than a year ago…I think our whole world was reminded of how close death can be, and I had a constant reminder of it on the news and media,” he says.

In addition to his studio practice, Park teaches drawing at The New York Academy of Art, ArtCenter, and New York Film Academy, and you can see more of his figurative drawings on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Silky Flowers Spring from CJ Hendry's Enormous Hyperrealistic Drawings in Colored Pencil

July 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Red Poppy,” 45 x 45 inches. All images © CJ Hendry, shared with permission

Previously drawing giant strokes of oil paint and fruits, fish, and other edibles with remarkable depth and detail, Australian artist CJ Hendry shifts her focus to the soft, silky petals of peonies, roses, and tulips. She uses colored pencils to render individual florals and small bunches at an immense scale, magnifying their thin layers and sticky inner organs. The hyperrealistic drawings enhance the dimension and delicacy of each flower as they appear to blossom from the paper with exquisite detail.

Hendry lives in Brooklyn and is working on similar botanical pieces for an upcoming exhibition in a dilapidated church in Mile End. Until that London show, follow her works and keep an eye out for limited-edition releases on her Instagram.

 

“Peony Peeping,” 65 x 65 inches

Detail of “Red Poppy,” 45 x 45 inches

“Pink Fluffy Peony,” 45 x 45 inches

Detail of “Pink Fluffy Peony,” 45 x 45 inches

Detail of “Light Peach Rose,” 41 x 41 inches

“Light Peach Rose,” 41 x 41 inches

“White Peeping Peony,” 45 x 45 inches

Detail of “White Poking Peony,” 41 x 41 inches

 

 



Art History

A Bookmark Illustrated by Van Gogh Has Been Discovered After 135 Years

June 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “Strip with three sketches” of a Woman Walking, Viewed from the Back, a Sitting Man (en face) and a Sitting Woman (en profil), before June 1883, graphite on paper, 28 x 5 centimeters. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, purchased with support from the Bank Giro Loterij

In 2021, it’s rare to stumble upon a work by Vincent van Gogh that hasn’t been previously identified, but researchers recently uncovered a few early drawings slipped inside one of the Dutch artist’s books. Now on view as part of Here to Stay at the Van Gogh Museum, the newly discovered bookmark has been hidden for about 135 years and dates back to autumn 1881, when the artist was in his late 20s and living in his parents’ village of Etten.

Depicting three single figures in a vertical line, the pencil sketches were found inside the artist’s copy of Histoire d’un Paysan, an illustrated novel by Emile Erckmann and Alexandre Chatrian that details the French Revolution from the perspective of a peasant in Alsace. Van Gogh mailed the book, which he first inscribed with his name, to his friend and fellow artist Anthon van Rappard in 1883, saying “I do think you’ll find the Erckmann-Chatrian beautiful.”

Van Rappard sat for a drawn portrait with van Gogh not long after receiving the novel, which was held by the family of van Rappard’s wife until the Van Gogh Museum purchased it in 2019. Despite their friendship, the pair had a falling out in 1885 after van Rappard criticized the lithograph “The Potato Eaters” (1885).

The discovery will be on view alongside artifacts and other artworks acquired by the Amsterdam museum in the last decade through September 12. (via Artnet)

 

“Strip with three sketches” of a Woman Walking, Viewed from the Back, a Sitting Man (en face) and a Sitting Woman (en profil), before June 1883, graphite on paper, 28 x 5 centimeters. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, purchased with support from the Bank Giro Loterij

Detail of “Strip with three sketches” of a Woman Walking, Viewed from the Back, a Sitting Man (en face) and a Sitting Woman (en profil), before June 1883, graphite on paper, 28 x 5 centimeters. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, purchased with support from the Bank Giro Loterij

 

 



Art

Infinite Architectural Metropolises Balance Order and Chaos in Benjamin Sack's Drawings

June 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Boxed In.” All images © Benjamin Sack, shared with permission

In Benjamin Sack’s imagined environments, it’s not uncommon to find angular mazes resembling dystopian structures, buildings packed so closely together it’s difficult to distinguish one from the next, and labyrinthine walkways that spiral like fractals. Working in pen and ink, the artist (previously) draws intricate black-and-white metropolises that waver between organization and chaos: He plays with geometry, angles, and dimension to render perplexing maps teeming with both traditional architecture and surreal additions, like treble clefs, astral shapes, and dizzying line- and dot-work.

While many of Sack’s works meld the past, present, and future into a single display, his recent feet-wide maze titled “Roots of Being (Per Aspera ad Astra)” is directly drawn from this last year.  “This piece was a massive, Daedalian undertaking that was started at the outset of the initial lockdowns back in March 2020 and finished upon my receiving the first dose of the vaccine in April,” the artist tells Colossal. “A large labyrinth emblematic of the epoch we persevered.”

Watch the timelapse video below and head to Instagram for a glimpse into Sack’s process, and pick up a print in his shop.

 

“Tokyo, Japan”

“Roots of Being (Per Aspera ad Astra)”

Detail of “Roots of Being (Per Aspera ad Astra)”

“Manhattanesque”

Detail of “Leitmotif”

“Endurance”

“Acoustaglyph”

“A Sensitive Chaos”

“Leitmotif”

 

 



Illustration

19 Illustrators Celebrate What They Love About Asian Culture in a Print Sale Raising Funds to Combat Racism

June 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

By Jessie Wong. All images courtesy of Paperboy, shared with permission

Nineteen international illustrators have banded together to raise money to stop violence against Asian communities. Curated by the new platform Paperboy, a print sale called MUST BE NICE! asked the artists to share what they love about Asian culture, which resulted in an electric array of works celebrating everything from food and animals to traditional craft. Each sale directly supports the illustrators, and the remaining profits will be donated to organizations combatting discrimination and hate, including Besea.n, End The Virus of Racism, and Hackney Chinese Community Services. See some of the prints below, and shop the full collection on the Paperboy app, which you can download on its site.

 

Left: By Kimberly Morris. Right: By Christina Tan

By Matt Nguyen

Left: By Aga Giecko. Right: By Arose Garden

By Celine Ka Wing La

 

Left: By Amy Phung. Right: By Darcie Olley

By Subin Yang

 

 



Art Colossal

Interview: Arinze Stanley Speaks to the Indelible Impact of Police Brutality and How Extreme Emotion is the Key to Change

May 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

“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 our reality, I want people to see that, that we’ve had it to the head. Enough is enough. It’s a visual representation of enough is enough because from here onwards is death.

Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert joined Stanley for a conversation in March 2021 about how he brings his subjects to points of extreme frustration, the ways his drawings resonate with different audiences around the globe, and how he envisions his artworks as catalysts for meaningful change.

 

“The Machine Man 1” (2019), pencil on paper