5 creative examples of faux taxidermy

No animals died while making this post… This new take on taxidermy was created with paper, textiles, and more.

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

Faux taxidermy - Anna-Wili Highfield

Highfield's work represents animal life in an immediate way that conveys the energy and movement of different creatures

Australian artist, Anna-Wili Highfield's sculptures aren't strictly paper craft, but they give the same effect (without the wear and tear).

Stitching together archival cotton rags, she achieves stunningly modern 3D animal portraits, and in some cases, fully fledged paper animal sculptures.

Faux taxidermy - Anna-Wili Highfield Owl

Highfield's animals are an equisite look at the physical character of different creatures

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

Faux taxidermy - Donya Coward

Coward's wall-mounted animal heads are intricate pieces of art, preserving traditional crafts

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.

Faux taxidermy - Donya Coward pigeons

Coward creates intricate animals, that, without closer inspection, could almost pass for the real thing

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

Faux taxidermy - Courtney Timmermans

Subverting the traditional hunting mounts - Timmermans' Air Rifle BB animal heads are invincible

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.

Faux taxidermy - Courtney Timmermans bear

Timmermans' Urban Herd are a group of bulletproof animals, honoring the majestic beasts while reminding us of our historical cruelty

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

Faux taxidermy - Kelly Rene Jelinek

Jelinek's Little Stag Studios are dedicated to creating creatures for your home - from wall mounts, to full bodied animals

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.

Faux taxidermy - Kelly Rene Jelinek Dinosaur

Jelinek has even created a dinosaur to grace your wall, if you so wish

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

Faux taxidermy - Wookjae Maeng

Maeng's art explicitly evokes the reality of how we treat animals, "creatures that merely exist without enjoying their natural right due to human classification and negligence"

Korean artist, Wookjae Maeng, makes his taxidermy sculptures from ceramic. He strives to express the relationship between humanity and nature.

Faux taxidermy - Wookjae Maeng's camouflage

Wookjae Maeng blends graphic design with the idea of natural camouflage for this faux taxidermy

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.

Faux taxidermy - Wookjae Maeng dog

This disturbing look at the dark side of animals in art poses the questions Wookjae Maeng is keen to ask

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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Alice Pattillo is a staff writer at Creative Bloq, where she creates content for the likes of Imagine FX, 3D World, net and Computer Arts magazines. When she is not writing about VFX and digital art, she freelances for Metal Hammer magazine, watches too many horror films and reads comic books. Sometimes she sculpts monsters and has been writing her own comic book for over ten years (it's still unfinished…).