Animal-Figure Art

Did you know there’s a show called Project Accessory?  It’s like Project Runway, but instead of designing clothes the contestants design jewelry and other accessories.  I can’t tell if I hate the idea or not…

Speaking of accessories, though, as I was cruising my favorite art sites on the web I came across these peacock sculptures, which were mentioned on both Etsy’s News from the Craft and Style Blogosphere and This is Colossal (one of my very favorite art blogs).

Artist Laurel Roth created these sculptures using very unconventional materials – fake fingernails, hair barrettes, jewelry and false eyelashes, among other things.

She says she wanted to “examine mankind’s  drive to modify itself as well as its environment [and]…question the social constructions of need, design and individual desire.”

I really love her use of nontraditional materials to create a sort of classically-inspired sculpture (I, at least, am reminded both of folk art and Chinese sculpture) – it lights a fire under my butt to re-examine objects in my own life within an artistic context.  Transformation and resourcefulness are always inspiring.  I also really love her concept; by juxtaposing these artificial beauty elements with a natural object – which exemplifies the need for attention and beauty in itself – really accomplishes her goal of making an interesting point about desire, aesthetics and our need for…what’s the word I want?  Social victory?  Acceptance?  The only word that (aptly) keeps popping into my mind is “peacocking,” which is an obvious choice but so accurately describes the whole idea in both a human and animal context.

The next bit of animal art that caught my attention also came from Colossal, and is a series of taxidermied animals wrapped in layers of intricately strung beadwork by French artist Julien Salaud.

The series is called Les Animaux Stellaires (the Stellar Animals) and you really must visit his website to look at the scroll of Flash images that I can’t download here.  Salaud says he wants to tell the stories of the changing loves of animals, people and the stars, and like Roth, the works juxtapose the aesthetics of nature with a sort of artificiality of man-made beauty.

The deer images are a bit tense and overwhelming with the beadwork, but some of Salaud’s other animals are adorned in delicate, flowing strands of glittering beads and sequins, giving them an almost royal appeal.  I suppose what attracts me to this work most is that, a) I think it’s a truly NEW idea – I’ve never seen anything quite like this before; and  b) it’s a bit macabre, with the dead taxidermy animals, but there’s also a distinct element of romance and beauty that brings the natural and human worlds together.  A nice partner for Roth’s peacocks – similar goals, but a completely different starting point and end result.



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