BTC: Happy Birthday, Björk!

Good morning! On this day in 1965, in Reykjavík, Iceland, a strange and delightful being called Björk Guðmundsdóttir was born. Or hatched out of a pod. Or was ejected from a volcano. Or something. Whatever.

Anyhoo… 46 years later, she’s still brimming with vim, vigor, and weirdness. Coilhouse has compiled a massive YouTube playlist of her music videos to honor the occasion of her whelping, and hopefully help you to wake your ass up on this glacially chilly November morn.

Click here to watch the rest of Coilhouse’s EPIC BJORK BIRTHDAY PLAYLIST ON TEH YOOTOOBZ.

The Cutest Goose-steppin’ You’ve Ever Seen:


Via DJ DeadBilly.

Dapper band nerds + waterfowl = ZOMGSQUEE. Who knew?!

Oh-So-Cute & Creepy

Please give a warm welcome to our newest guest blogger, Caroline E. Willis! Caroline describes herself as “a writer and occasionally an archaeologist.” She also has a highly entertaining blog “about dressing up and hitting people with latex.” Needless to say, we like Caroline a lot. -Mer


“Sentimental” by Kathie Olivas, 2009, oil on canvas, 30”x40”. (Via)

“Most of us can agree on the artistic value of a Monet or Titian, but this work is for a daring audience, an audience open to exploring the strange beauty and the ecstasy inherent in our culture’s aversions.”

~Carrie Ann Baade
Guest Curator of the Cute & Creepy exhibition, FSU Museum of Fine Arts.

Drive past enough hazy bayous and bent oaks, sacrifice enough November butterflies on the altar of your windshield, and you’ll find something creepy in the heart of Florida. Carrie Ann Baade has collected the works of 25 fellow artists- works of beautiful, grotesque, adorable art- for the Cute & Creepy exhibition that’s currently taking Tallahassee by storm.

Over two-thousand people attended the opening- four times more than any other opening at the museum thus far, and some strange lure continues to draw unprecedented numbers to this show- a lure as hard to define as the subject of the show itself. Cute & Creepy is an exploration of boundaries, but the artworks on display do not so much “cross the line” as seem unaware that any boundaries exist. Each object is wholly itself; it is the viewers for whom categorization fails.


Toddlerpede 2.0” by Jon Beinart. 2011, mixed media sculpture, approximately 36”x36”x36”. Photo by Caroline E. Willis.

“Custos Cavum” by U-Ram Choe

Via Devon, thanks!

This beautiful video footage was recently shot by the Asia Society Museum in New York City, where Korean artist U-Ram Choe‘s most recent triumph, a shimmering, golden, “breathing” sculpture, is being premiered.

Most of Choe’s elaborate kinetic sculptures are assembled from stainless steel and acrylic, and motorized with robotics that he himself develops and programs. The above work, called Custos Cavum (“Guardian of the Hole” in Latin) is a particularly delicate and elaborate piece created as a response to this tenth-century Shiva Nataraja sculpture. (Custos Cavum is part of the Asia Society’s “In Focus” series, which invites contemporary artists to craft new works inspired by pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. Choe’s new work is being shown with the Shiva sculpture.)

Choe has stated that his creation is “a creature [that] protects the flow of communication between the two realms that assures mutual respect. In this fable, the guardian is a symbol of coexistence just as the Hindu god, Shiva, is a symbol of balance and harmony.” (via)

The exhibition will run until December 31, 2011.

Previously on Coilhouse:

A Starling Murmuration in Ireland


(Via Julia Frodahl. Thank you, love.)

This breathtaking footage, shot on the River Shannon in Ireland by Liberty Smith and Sophie Windsor Clive, is a prime example of a natural phenomenon known as a “starling murmuration”. These kinds of displays are currently happening all over Ireland and Great Britain, as autumn turns to winter and millions of Sturnus vulgaris migrate there from Russia and Scandinavia to escape the murderous cold. From TIME Magazine:

“Even complex algorithmic models haven’t yet explained the starlings’ acrobatics, which rely on the tiny bird’s quicksilver reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock. Despite their show of force in the dusky sky, starlings have declined significantly in the UK in recent years, perhaps because of a drop in nesting sites. The birds still roost in several of Britain’s rural pastures, however, settling down to sleep (and chatter) after the evening’s ballet.”

Previously on Coilhouse:


Image of a Rome murmuration found on Bornhtt.

A Bio-Mechanical Astro Boy by Kazuhiko Nakamura

Since we last covered artist Kazuhiko Nakamura (a.k.a Almacan) in 2007, he’s posted a several amazing new pieces, including “Atoma,” seen above. “This is biomechanical Astro Boy,” says the artist on his DeviantArt page and adds, “I recommend you watch this image while listening to King Crimson’s ‘Moonchild’.” [via Wurzeltod]

Also new is this rhinoceros based on the one that Albrecht Durer drew in 1515.

“Durer, never actually saw a live rhino and based his drawing on a brief sketch and a letter. The rhino that inspired Durer’s drawing was given by an Indian sultan to King Manuel of Portugal in 1515. The Portuguese king sent the rhino as a gift to the pope. However, the ship carrying the rhino sank in a storm and the unfortunate rhino was drowned.” (Quotation from “A History of the World”)

Hybrid Creatures in X-Ray by Benedetta Bonichi


The Metamorphosis, 2007

Bejeweled octopus centaurs, birdwomen and mermaids. Tumblr oldies but goodies, these fantastical x-rayed hybrid human-animals are the work of Italian artist Benedetta Bonichi. More of her work can be seen at her website, To See in the Dark. If you like Benedetta’s work, check out these gorgeous corset x-rays from 1908 and the raunchy 2001 x-ray art (NSFW!) of Wim Delvoye.

[via Clayton Cubitt]


La collana di perle, 2002.

The Leporidae-Laden World Of Leontine Greenberg

I first became aware of Leontine Greenberg when I saw her fantastic Dark Crystal piece for Gallery1988’s recent “Crazy 4 Cult” show. Working in watercolors and gouache, her work is fairly sparse, normally a figure or two perched atop a strip of earth. The characters in these little vignettes are animals all, just a few steps outside of their real-world norms. There are tiny, unidentifiable songbirds and gangly, heron-like waterfowl. And there are, of course, the rabbits or, perhaps, The Rabbit; a spindly, hunched creature (or creatures) with a peculiar phonograph obsession — an other-dimensional Nipper.

What I like most about her work (besides the wonderfully rendered figures) is how they seem to hint at but never reveal their world. All these strange scenes appear to take place in some children’s storybook gone sideways — the Hundred Acre Wood and Kenneth Grahame’s pastoral England transposed onto Sam Kieth’s Outback — a world I would very much like to know more about but which is, perhaps, best left up to the imagination.

MizEnScen’s somber, surrealist collages


Bride I

MizEnScen’s elegant digital collages, laced with melancholia like mournful mezzotints, are a surrealist fusion of gleaned vintage engravings, illustrations, and photography in which she expresses her love of the macabre and whimsy through her work while “exploring the juxtapositions between what some consider beautiful and horrific”.
“To me,” she notes, ” they are one of the same.”

“The artist, in my opinion, is a monstrosity, something outside of nature”. -Gustave Flaubert,

Referencing this provocative quote,  she postulates that this sentiment “… pertains to my works’ visual theme and aesthetic.  I create images that draw on my morbid sensibilities and because of that, the images exhibit dark or morose elements.  In essence, I’m inclined to the things outside of nature because that is precisely what I find beautiful.”

Those unfamiliar with her artwork may also know her as MizEnScen on tumblr in which she curates, among other things, a striking collection of film stills from early black and white cinema and cites an unapologetic love of the breathtaking, enigmatic Greta Garbo. It is unsurprising then, that she lists among her artistic inspirations: “silent film, melancholia, carnivals (sideshows), The Weimar Republic, Dia De Los Muertos, Edwardian/Victorian photography and illustrations, Surrealism, Pop Surrealism, engravings (particularly medical illustrations), German Expressionism, oddities/curios, graphic art, collage, and Dada.”

Her process involves both digital and traditional methods, about which she shares the following: “When I create a digital collage, I may or may not begin with an idea, but I simply rummage through illustrations to gather inspiration and play around with them in Photoshop.  Other times I create elements that I want to incorporate either as part of a altered-digital collage or my own illustration by sketching in graphite and ink, then scanning the artwork to alter in Photoshop.  Some of my other artwork is done in traditional paint and brush, my new favorite method being dry brush.  Essentially the tools I use are graphite, ink, acrylic, watercolor, oil, paper, canvas, engravings/illustrations, and Photoshop.”

Though not currently an artist by trade, she is working  toward making her artwork a full-time venture.  More of MizEnScen’s sketches, collages, etc. can be see on her flickr page and art prints are available through society6.  See below the cut for a small selection of her wistful, whimsical collages, compositions which resonate with both “traces of sadness and fleeting gladness”.

The Fantastical Fairy Tale Art of Sveta Dorosheva


From Sveta Dorosheva’s “More Book Illustrations” portfolio.

Sveta Dorosheva‘s fantastical art could be compared to a brilliant dream collaboration among noted artists, for whom the goal is a visionary book of enchanted tales. Imagine an artistic hybrid comprised of the intricately-lined illustrations of Harry Clarke or Aubrey Beardsley, the luxurious art deco magnificence of Romain de Tirtoff (Erté) fashion plates, and the beautiful-on-the-verge-of-grotesque visages drawn by the enigmatic Alastair.

But! In this imaginary scenario, the artists realize there is something… some je ne sais quois… missing from their efforts. They entice illustrator Sveta Dorosheva to join their endeavors: she flits in, and with a mischievous smile and a gleam of amusement in her eye, announces “yes, yes, this is all very beautiful… but let’s make it FUN!” Although comparisons to the above-mentioned artists may be obvious upon first glance, the sense of enchantment, whimsy, and joyful wit present in Dorosheva’s work ensures that one not only appreciates they are gazing upon something technically pleasing or beautifully rendered; one also genuinely delights –and even emotionally invests– in the engaging imagery as well.

Though born in Ukraine, Sveta Dorosheva currently resides in Israel with her husband and two sons.  She has worked as as an interpreter, copywriter, designer (be certain to peek at her Incredible Hats or Fashionista portfolios!) , art director and creative director in advertising, and is currently pursuing her lifelong dream of academic training in art. Dorosheva recently spoke to Coilhouse about her lifelong love of fairy tales, and her inspired,  imaginative new project, The Nenuphar Book, which will be published in Russia this autumn.   See below the cut for her illuminating ruminations and a gallery selection of her extraordinary illustrations.


From Sveta Dorosheva’s “Weird and Wonderful: Fairy Tale Illustrations” portfolio.