Larger Than Life Guerrilla Sign Installations by Trevor Wheatley and Cosmo Dean

Trevor Wheatley and Cosmo Dean work together to create large installations based around phrases and logos that are part of the common lexicon. Casually used terms like “all good” and the shrug emoji take on larger-than-life dimensions in the duo’s three dimensional versions, which are suspended from cables, integrated into chain link fences, toted in truck beds, and painted alongside graffiti. Wheatley and Dean have partnered with music festivals, fashion brands, and the creative house Justkids to install their work. Up next, the artists will be embarking on a trip to Mexico to create new paintings in rural areas. You can see more installations on their website.

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Art in Ad Places: A New Book Collects 52 Public Artworks Installed in Pay Phones Across NYC

Artwork by Andrea Sonnenberg, all installation images by Luna Park

Artwork by Andrea Sonnenberg, all installation images by Luna Park

Frustrated by the daily bombardment of advertising on the streets of New York City, artist Caroline Caldwell and writer RJ Rushmore decided to produce a project that would dampen the sheer volume of visual marketing strewn throughout their environment. The pair didn’t have the budget to prompt an entire overhaul, but they did have the incentive to construct an intervention that would offer an alternative glimpse to the city’s high volume of print-based advertisements.

For their 2017 project, Art in Ad Places, the pair recruited 55 artists and collectives from across the country to produce 52 works to be temporarily displayed on pay phone booths across New York City. The installations were each presented for a week, and documented by their collaborator, street art photographer Luna Park.

“Pay phones were a perfect choice because they’re disappearing from the streets,” Rushmore told Colossal. “So I’d like to say that our ad takeovers were intended as a swan song for pay phones. Plus, contemporary pay phones serve no real function except to serve advertising, and that feels wrong. Nobody’s using pay phones to make calls, so why do we put up with their ads?”

The 52-week campaign ended in December of last year, however it has recently been compiled into a new book that documents the year-long installation. Art in Ad Places: 52 Week of Public Art Across New York City is available through Rushmore’s street art blog Vandalog and features statements from each artist alongside essays written by the project’s three collaborators. You can see the entire range of poster-sized artworks produced for Art in Ad Places on the project’s website or Instagram.

Bones Not Bombs by Pat Perry

Bones Not Bombs by Pat Perry

My Ad is No Ad by John Fekner

My Ad is No Ad by John Fekner

Artwork by For Freedoms with Hank Willis Thomas

Artwork by For Freedoms with Hank Willis Thomas

"I HATE THE SOUND OF SILENCE" by Cheryl Pope

“I HATE THE SOUND OF SILENCE” by Cheryl Pope

Artwork by Martha Cooper

Artwork by Martha Cooper

The Ecstasy of St Katsuhiro Otomo by Nomi Chi

The Ecstasy of St Katsuhiro Otomo by Nomi Chi

Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Artwork by Louise Chen aka Ouizi

Artwork by Louise Chen aka Ouizi

Blue Lady by Parker Day

Blue Lady by Parker Day

Jennifer Crupi’s Unconventional Jewelry Highlights Gesture As Ornament

Jennifer Crupi uses carefully constructed jewelry to communicate ideas about psychology, body language, and art history. In her series, Ornamental Hands, Crupi’s structural metal attachments hold the hand in various poses that are commonly found in traditional art historical paintings. Fingers and wrists are suspended in aesthetically pleasing cuffs and splints, which the artist makes by hand using aluminum or sterling silver. Despite the eye-catching nature of Crupi’s anatomical suspensions, the ultimate intention is to display the gesture itself as the ornament, with the jewelry acting as a supportive means to that end. She describes her interest in psychology and how it has informed her work as an artist:

I started investigating body movement and became intrigued in the nuances of non-verbal behavior, posture, and gesture. I then became invested in a whole new kind of movement and for many years now it has been the source of inspiration for my work. Since I began my study into non-verbal communication, I am continually intrigued and surprised by how much we communicate with our bodies.

The Chemintz Museum of Industry in Germany and the Jewelry Museum of Vicenza, Italy both have shows currently on view which include Crupi’s work. The Vincenza exhibit includes four hundred pieces of jewelry in nine themed rooms. You can see more of the artist’s work on her website. Crupi is based in the New York metro area, where she has been a professor at Kean University since 1999.

In 1848 A French Commune Built an Interconnected Treehouse Cabaret Based on Swiss Family Robinson

For over a century, Parisians were drawn out of the city and into the neighboring village of Le Plessis-Piquet to experience charming summer evenings among the township’s tall trees. What started as open air dancehalls called “guinguettes,” turned into treehouse cabarets after restaurant proprietor Joseph Gueusquin built Le Grand Robinson in 1848.

Inspired by the treehouse described in The Swiss Family Robinson, the unique establishment hoisted visitors to the top branches of a thick chestnut tree to dine dozens of feet above their fellow revelers. Over the next few decades copycat restaurants began popping up in trees across town, hosting donkey races and building tall tree swings to persuade diners away from their numerous competitors. This crop of new treetop guinguettes forced Gueusquin to rename his lounge “Le Vrai de Arbre Robinson” (The Real Robinson Tree) in 1888, which ensured customers knew they were dining at the original treehouse of Le Plessis-Piquet.

In 1909, after 60 years of booming success with the popular treehouses, the town changed its name to Le Plessis-Robinson. Today none of the Parisian suburb’s treetop bars remain (the last shut its doors in 1976), however the memory of treetop revelry remains in the few forgotten boards tacked to the town’s tall trees. (via Jeroen Apers)

Suspended Ocean Wave Installations by Miguel Rothschild

Elegy, 2017. Print on fabric, fishing line, lead balls, epoxy, acrylic, 300 x 550 x 280 cm

Multidisciplinary artist Miguel Rothschild works across a wide variety of mediums from modified photography to glass sculpture and textiles. In several recent works the Argentine artist has captured the slow roll of ocean waves in suspended fabric installations titled Elegy and De Profundis. Both artworks seem to play with the viewer’s perception, appearing both as waves or perhaps a slice of the sky. Even the filament that holds the artwork airborne seems to glisten like rays of sun or rain. You can see more of the Berlin-based artists work on his website.

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De profundis, 2018. On view at St. Matthäus-Kirche, Berlin.

I Still Fucking Hate Koh Phi Phi

tourist boats at koh phi phi
Yeah, I used the F word. That’s how much I hate Ko Phi Phi.

I was supposed to visit Ko Phi Phi in 2005, but the deadly 2004 tsunami destroyed the island. Thousands were killed and injured on the island. The entire coast was devastated, with Phi Phi one of the hardest it. It was one of the biggest natural disasters to ever hit the country. Determined to get there and wanting to contribute to the rebuilding, I made it my first stop in Thailand when I quit my job to travel the world in 2006.

Construction was all over the place, tourists were returning — some also helping rebuild — and the government was promising to make the island more sustainable. Spirits were high. Naturally, it wasn’t like the postcards. The inner beach was littered with coral swept in by the sea, but just outside town was beautiful Long Beach, an undeveloped stretch of white sand and turquoise water. I didn’t fall in love Ko Phi Phi, but I thought that if they limited development as they said, this place wouldn’t be half bad.

Fast forward two years.

I returned (twice) while living in Bangkok to discover that they hadn’t kept their promise: the island had become overdeveloped (again). Hotels were everywhere. Boats seemed to endlessly ring the island, ferrying an endless queue of tourists. There were bars on the beach; the little street stall food court near the dock was gone; and resorts, tourists, and loud music were inescapable. Ko Phi Phi had become an overpriced party island. Long Beach was still the only haven, but tiny guesthouses had popped up, chipping away at paradise. You could tell it wasn’t going to be too long before it was wholly consumed by the development sprawl creeping out from town.

Fast forward another two years.

Everything that was bad about the island had multiplied 10 times. Maya Bay, a location made famous by the movie The Beach, was bursting at the seams. The island tours were filled with swim spots where you only saw dead coral. Long Beach, though still beautiful, now had resorts, and a thin layer of boat fuel coated the water.

I left disgusted.

It was crowded, dirty, filled with drunk tourists, terrible food, unfriendly locals*, and an environment destroyed by development.

a busy beach on koh phi phi

Fast forward to last month, when I went back to the island once again.

“I thought you hated this place,” a reader I ran into said to me. “Why are you here?”

“I’m here to update my guide. I need to see this place with fresh eyes.”

He laughed. “Mate, nothing has changed.”

He was right. It’s safe to say that the next time the guide needs updating, I won’t be checking up on Ko Phi Phi. I hated it more than ever.

Maya Bay has been destroyed even more, partially cleared to put in little huts, a snack bar, bathrooms, and even a smoking area. Trash is everywhere.

Ko Phi Phi charges 20 baht to visit (a conservation fee, they claim, though it’s obvious they are just conserving their bank balance), Long Beach has been fully developed with large resorts and hotels, music blasts throughout the island day and night, prices are high for no reason other than people will pay up, and the inner beach, still littered with coral, is now filled with bars, end to end. In the morning, there’s more trash than beach. There were booze cruises, pricey boat trips, a McDonald’s, and more restaurants serving Western food than Thai food. The town’s buildings are so tightly packed that one loses any sense of being on an island.

They literally paved over paradise:

an empty street on koh phi phi in thailand
(That is me standing at one end of the island looking out to the beach across the way.)

As far as I’m concerned, Ko Phi Phi has lost what little soul it had left. It is an ugly, overpriced destination living off the fact people go there because….well, I guess you’re supposed to go there?

I’ve been living in or visiting Thailand for thirteen years. I’ve been all over the country. Ko Phi Phi is one of those places that takes the worst of Thailand tourism and puts it all in one overpriced location. This place has nothing to offer you can’t get on another island. Thailand is full of beautiful, picturesque tropical islands like Ko Mak, Ko Jum, Ko Chang, Ko Adang, and Ko Lanta. Those are the ones you see on postcards, the ones that spur the imagination and entice adventure. And if you want to party, you will find parties equally as good — at cheaper prices — on Ko Chang, Ko Samui, Ko Phanang, and Ko Tao.

I can’t really figure why people go there. I asked people I met. “I hear the parties are good and I wanted to see Maya Bay. I dunno. It’s famous for a reason, right?”

If you’re looking for a beach paradise, there are better islands. If you’re looking for a party, there are better islands. If you’re looking to scuba dive, there are better islands. If you want great seafood, there are better islands. If you’re looking for an inexpensive place to go, well, this place is definitely not it.

Phi Phi has no redeeming qualities.

And I don’t see myself ever returning.

The island can’t support the number of people it gets anyway. Give nature a break. Save your bank account. Find a nicer place. Go elsewhere.

Please avoid this hellhole.

*I don’t fault the locals. If you dealt with the obnoxious party tourists I saw on that island every day of your life, you wouldn’t give a f*ck either!

Note: I know they have recently decided to close Maya Bay in the off season to give it a break. It’s the step in the right direction but I don’t think it will change much. They already developed the island. They need to remove all the structures there, limit the number of people who go, and give nature a time to heal. Given the government’s track record on following through with environmental promises, I won’t be holding my breath.

Photo Credit: 1

The post I Still Fucking Hate Koh Phi Phi appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Amok Island Paints Modern Minimalist Murals of Native Flora and Fauna

Rotterdam, The Netherlands 2017. ‘Zeus faber’ for SOBER WALLS Festival

A native of The Netherlands and now based in Australia, Amok Island depicts flora and fauna that can be found in the locations of his colorful murals. The artist’s distinctive minimal style is reminiscent of recent trends in digital design. However, his analog use of flat fields of color and geometric shapes to interpret the nuanced forms of animals and plants is a fresh take in the current mural scene.

Amok writes on his website that if weren’t an artist, he would be a biologist. He takes many of his own reference photos (including underwater), and titles each mural with the name of the plant or animal. The artist describes his passion for the natural world:

The theme of natural exploration and conservation is a strong and constant undercurrent of Amok Island’s artistic practice. His lifelong fascination with nature and her relationships and history with mankind drive the artist’s obvious appreciation and obsession with his subjects and his urge to direct the attention of his audience to them.

Amok has finished murals in twenty five countries and counting, and also creates smaller paintings, which he sometimes editions as prints. You can see more work on his website, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

Ravensthorpe, Western Australia 2016. ‘Six Stages of Banksia Baxteri’ (side 2) Commissioned by FORM WA and CBH

Ravensthorpe, Western Australia 2016. ‘Six Stages of Banksia Baxteri’ (side 1) Commissioned by FORM WA and CBH

Ravensthorpe, Western Australia 2016. ‘Six Stages of Banksia Baxteri’ (in progress) Commissioned by FORM WA and CBH

Axolotl, Mexico

Fremantle, Western Australia 2015. ‘Praying Mantis’ for PUBLIC Festival

Port Hedland, Western Australia 2015. ‘Flatback Turtle Hatchling’ commissioned by FORM WA

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2016. ‘Horse Chestnut’ Commissioned by LTS / Spooker

Claremont, Western Australia 2017. ‘Mushrooms’ commissioned by FORM / Claremont Quarters

North Fremantle, Western Australia 2015. ‘Blue Swimmer Crab’ for UNDERLINE festival

Collaboration with Georgia Hill and Thomas Jackson in Erskineville, Sydney

Surry Hills, Sydney 2017 ‘Mushroom Study’ Commissiones by Canva