Oratorical Type, An Alphabet Made out of Carved Books
From Laughing Squid by
From Laughing Squid by
Koilos, a 900-kilogram giant sculpture by San Francisco artist Michael Christian. Andrew Cumming photo
Until recently, this 900-kilogram giant guarded Toronto’s Distillery District. Koilos sat there without Michael Christian, its creator, even realizing just how many people appreciated his steel monster.
“I didn’t realize it was appreciated so much … until we moved it and started receiving nice emails from people,” Christian wrote to Yahoo! Canada News.
The sculpture’s new home is on the dock of a Muskoka cottage, in Ontario, where its new owner’s getting some polarizing feedback from the neighbours.
“I’m blown away,” “Fantastic,” “Thank you for bringing it here for us to enjoy,” some said after spotting the giant kneeling towards the water. Others have called it “horrible,” “scary” and questioned the owner’s sanity. Some critics have warmed up to it since it arrived this May, the owner says.
In order to move Koilos, Christian and his California colleague had to disassemble him into four pieces, which were transported on a flatbed truck. Koilos was then installed on the dock of an island using a barge and a boom truck. Watch the painful process in the slideshow below.
“It looks great on the dock,” writes Andrew Cumming, the sculpture’s new owner. “I built this dock for this piece of art, so it is gratifying to me that it looks as good as I thought it would.”
Cumming told CBC that he purchased the art after noticing that Koilos was starting to show signs of wear and tear. At that point, the sculpture had already gone through a stint at Burning Man festival in Nevada and spent almost four years in Toronto. Since the Distillery District’s lease on the creature was ending, he decided to buy the monster and make a radical modification of the island’s landscape.
“The dock location is dramatic, unique, and it affords people the opportunity to enjoy it, the way public-scale art should be,” Cumming wrote of his choice. “If I put it on a farm or up on a mountain top, nobody would be able to get close to it.”
As for the artist, Christian is thrilled about the amount of attention his monster’s been getting. There’s no way to get feedback on public art, he explains, so this has been an unexpected development.
“I think it’s wonderful that people love it and hate it. It would be pretty boring if everyone had the same response,” he says, adding he hopes the sculpture hasn’t offended the viewers.
If you are still wondering about the meaning of Christian’s monster, here’s how the artist explained it to the Digital Journal a few years ago:
“It’s practically a paradox…It wants to jump but also wants to relax at the same time. It wants to contemplate, but also wants to play.”
Perhaps, its new waterside location is the perfect in-between space for it. We just hope it doesn’t give some unprepared Ontario boaters a scare one night.
photo by Anthony Gelot
A fearsome chromed skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex was recently installed on the banks of the Seine in Paris. Created by artist Philippe Pasqua, the aluminum and chrome sculpture is nearly 23 feet long and consists of 350 bones.
photo by Jean-Charles Sarfati
By Anya Kamenetz from FastCompany.com:
When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, over a quarter of New Orleans households did not have access to a vehicle. Therefore nearly 100,000 people did not evacuate the city, creating hellish scenes in the Convention Center and Superdome with people stuck for days without adequate food, water, sanitation or medical care, not to mention the tragic loss of over a thousand lives in the flood itself.
Ten years and a couple of evacuations later, the city has finally introduced a solution: “City-Assisted Evacuation,” providing the elderly and others in need free pickups and rides from 17 access points in case of a large storm headed their way. But according to Evacuteer, a nonprofit that trains volunteers to help with the CAE effort, there was just one problem. The city was marking the access points with a tiny metal sign covered in fine print that looked like any old parking sign. No one was likely to notice the sites or remember them when they needed them.
They started being installed this month, in time for the official start of hurricane season June 1.
So Evacuteer raised money from hundreds of donors and commissioned an artist, Douglas Kornfeld, to create a series of 12-foot sculptures to mark each access point. They look like giant steel stick figures reaching up to hail a cab, or maybe grab some Mardi Gras beads. They started being installed this month, in time for the official start of hurricane season June 1.
“People may think the waving guys are beautiful, and others may think they’re ugly,” the director of the project, Robert Fogarty, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “In either scenario, they at least remember where it was—and that’s what matters.”
Spoiler alert: Karen Cusolito is an old and dear friend of mine. I had the privilege of working with her in the early and mid-2000’s as part of the Flaming Lotus Girls, a female-focused metal and fire sculpture group.
A December 2012 Smithsonian Magazine interview with Ms. Cusolito is here, with many excellent photographs of her large-scale art.
Karen Cusolito creates larger-than-life figures out of salvaged steel; some 40 ft. tall and higher. It is what she has done for the Oakland art scene, though, that may be her most important work to date.
Karen Cusolito grew up in New England. She says moving to California almost twenty years ago was like finally taking off a tight, constricting sweater. Karen, an artist, loved the wide-open expanses of the west. That feeling of “bigness” eventually crept into Karen’s art. She is now famous for her 40-plus foot tall figures made out of salvaged steel. But it was her hunt for a space to create her larger-than-life figures that may be Karen’s most important contribution to the Bay Area art scene.
In 2005, Karen walked into the vacant American Steel warehouse in West Oakland. The six-acre building was completely empty. It is anything but empty now. More than 160 artists are working out of American Steel Studios, creating fascinating (and sometimes flaming) works of art.
To see just what an amazing scene it is inside American Steel Studios, watch Garvin Thomas’ story.
It’s perhaps the very best and ethical way you could place an animal bust on your wall – Korean artist Yong Ho Ji uses recycled tires from all sorts of vehicles to create these incredibly dynamic sculptures. The shape of his medium is what leads to the sinuous curves of each piece, while the knobby textures and coal black hue give them both a beautiful and sinister countenance.
Yong Ho Ji’s animals are hardly accurate, often taking on the clear form of mutants. In this way each species veers slightly away from its real-life kin, sometimes going as far as merging with the properties of another species. In these examples, we see mythical creatures like a bull or wolf with a human torso. In others the mutation is far more subtle – perhaps an animal’s horns have become larger, teeth longer or muscles stronger. Like the Uncanny X-Men, these mutants have changed into forms superior in abilities to their predecessors. Frozen in motion, each creature could easily seem dead to the world were it not for their obsidian black eyes staring with melancholy realism from the folds of their skin.
The sculptures are constructed by screwing and gluing his cut pieces of tire onto a cast resin skeleton – often reaching close to life-size. You can see many more examples at yonghoji.com.