Colossal

An art, design, and visual culture blog.

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Watch the 14th-Century Construction Process of Prague’s Charles Bridge Unfold in a Meticulous Animation

 Up until the mid-19th century, the only way to cross the Vltava River in Prague was to head over the gothic stone arches of the Charles Bridge. The project of King Charles IV, construction of the now iconic structure began in 1357 after a flood damaged the existing walkway. A short animation by Engineering and Architecture peers back into history...

Elegant Eats and Bread-Based Fare Form Quirky Interventions in Jill Burrow’s Photographs

All images © Jill Burrow, shared with permission From her home in Kansas City, Missouri, photographer and art director Jill Burrow composes elegant dining tableaus captured in the fleeting light of golden hour. Complete with floral arrangements and unusual additions,  Burrow’s fare distinctly exhibits the artistic potential of a simple meal when presented...

A Turbine-Faced Pilot Returns from War in a Surreal Animated Short About Love and Transformation

 Presented by the National Film Board of Canada, an animated short by Montreal-based director Alex Boya considers the complex effects of war through a heartwarming tale. “Turbine” opens with a woman climbing aboard a train that inches along the track like a worm. The black-and-white film then chronicles her journey reuniting with her pilot husband,...

Fire Sprinklers Erupt from Ingeniously Camouflaged Huts to Protect a Historic Japanese Village

Situated in a mountainous region of the Gifu Prefecture is a small village of Gassho-style homes, uniquely Japanese structures with thatched roofs that are built to withstand heavy snowfall. Dating back to the 11th century, the historic community of Shirakawa-go was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. While the designation draws tourists...

Watch the Birdie: A Restored Brass Gadget Dating Back 140 Years Reveals a Historic Photography Trick

 Prior to asking subjects to grin and “say cheese,” photographers would entreat those awaiting a portrait to “watch the birdie.” Now generally out of use, the phrase dates back to 1879 and references a technique to capture both kids’ and adults’ attention at just the right moment: Photographers would attach a little brass bird to the top of their...

Evoking Historical Struggles, Hank Willis Thomas Examines the Intersection of Art and Activism

“If the Leader Only Knew” (2014). All images © Hank Willis Thomas, shared with permission Through his bronze sculptures and public installations, Hank Willis Thomas (previously) examines history’s repetitions. The Brooklyn-based artist critically considers identity, social justice, and pop culture by visually weaving together the remains of the past...

Set Against Lavishly Patterned Backdrops, Photographer Cecilia Paredes Disguises Herself in Stunning Self-Portraits

“Zanzibar” (2019). All images © Cecilia Paredes, shared with permission Whether immersing herself in swathes of ornamental textiles or against paisley-style backdrops, Cecilia Paredes is adept at camouflaging herself in the most elaborate settings. The Peruvian artist disguises her figure by painting her exposed skin and draping her torso in lavishly...

Metaphorical Editorial Illustrations by Eleni Debo Incite Reflections on Contemporary Life

All images © Eleni Debo, shared with permission Belgian illustrator Eleni Debo works within subdued color palettes rendering curious scenes that illuminate the human condition and modern life. Often supporting magazine articles or other editorial endeavors, Debo’s drawings generally focus on a moving figure, whether a woman attempting to work while...

Enhance! Explore the Orion Constellation in Astounding Detail with This 2.5 Gigapixel Image That Took Five Years to Complete

Full image of “Project Orion.” All images © Matt Harbison, shared with permission For the past five years, Chattanooga-based astrophotographer Matt Harbison has poured more than 500 hours into capturing the minute details of the Orion constellation, an immense undertaking that’s culminated in a stunning 2.5 gigapixel image. In its entirety, “Project...

Recycled Scraps and Discarded Objects Are Fashioned Into an Eccentric Menagerie of Metal Animals

All images © Barbara Franc, shared with permisison London-based artist Barbara Franc (previously) upcycles materials that otherwise would be tossed into the recycling bin to create a quirky menagerie of metal creatures. Composed with scraps and copper wire, the lively sculptures generally are indicative of movement: owls lift a talon mid-waddle, two...

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