Taxidermy can be a controversial subject, but many of us enjoy sharing our homes with real, or not-so-real, animal companions. While for some the idea of motionless representations of once-living creatures is horrifying, for others including celebrity taxidermy fans Angelina Jolie, singer Jack White and illusionist Derren Brown, it is a source of pleasure and fascination.
Fierce creatures are inspiring to many artists and designers, and it may be because of this that the taxidermy aesthetic has survived, flourishing even within a more ethically-minded, animal-loving society. And helping it to flourish is faux taxidermy.
Faux taxidermy takes many forms, as you will see – from paper art to textiles and ceramics, all manner of artforms have been utilised to ensure that our fellow animals need not suffer for our visual pleasure.
So, if you aren't so keen on the idea of roadkill (or of course, helpless hunt victims) being mounted on your wall, but enjoy the traditional aesthetic, these vegetarian options might just be the inspiration you are looking for.
01. Paper taxidermy
Stitching together archival cotton rags, she achieves stunningly modern 3D animal portraits, and in some cases, fully fledged paper animal sculptures.
The daughter of a pupeteer, it's easy to see where Highfield got her penchant for manipulating 3D forms. The artist's aim is to "engineer a moment of contact with nature in a way that emphasises both the startling differences and similarities of human and animal forms and consciousness."
02. Textile taxidermy
This one kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Donya Coward's works take a lot more from the aesthetic of traditional taxidermy than Anna's.
Describing herself as a "textile taxidermist", Coward creates intricate and beautiful creatures while preserving the craftsmanship of Antique laces, embroideries and haberdashery.
From birds in belljars, and wall mounted dog heads to fully formed taxidermy foxes, her work is a stunning tribute to the almost forgotten artforms.
03. Air rifle BB taxidermy
This one is a very original concept, and perhaps a commentry on the use of wall mounted animal heads.
Using air rifle pellets, artist Courtney Timmermans has cleverly constructed these majestic wild creatures as hunting trophies, who have this time, gone unharmed in the making.
The result is are a modern, chrome stampede of some of the world's most powerful and stunning wildlife, dubbed 'Urban Herd' – perfect for the most pristine and contemporary wall space.
04. Upholstered taxidermy
Artist Kelly Rene Jelinek’s last name means 'little stag' in Czech, so it's only appropriate that her livelihood come from creating beautiful faux taxidermy deer and other animals.
"Even when I was a small child they never scared or disgusted me – if anything, they fascinated me," the artist says.
Using upholstery, Jelinek recreates the taxidermy deer and game mounts she was accustomed to seeing as a child growing up in rural Wisconsin. Her creations are also inspired by traditional folkart and modern notions of home decor.
Using both resin and real, found antiques to create the antlers on her deer, moose and more, custom made to fit in with any household decor.
05. Ceramic taxidermy
Korean artist, Wookjae Maeng, makes his taxidermy sculptures from ceramic. He strives to express the relationship between humanity and nature.
His stunning, thought provoking designs often blend modern graphic design, geometric patterns, and bold, man-made structures, with the images of nature – striving for coexistence and balance between the urban and the natural.
Maeng says that he hopes "to provide an opportunity – however brief – for modern man to consider the realities of the environment in which he exists, even as he continues his daily existence indifferent to it".
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