What is my idea of fun these days - creeping around in off-display specimen collections. So that is how I spent my Tuesday this week...cruising through countless drawers and cabinets of animal skins and insects, taking pics of super rad stuffed mounts to use for reference, sketching, taking notes, and generally being in awe of my surroundings. I even faced one of my most major fears...swimming snakes. I didn't really see 'swimming' snakes per se but I saw tons of jars filled with snakes in liquid. Same thing. So I chose the gnarliest one and stared at it for as long as I could. I even touched the jar but they jiggled around inside and I bailed. Welcome to my snake-mare...
Hey, you wanna see the opposite of a jar of snakes?
I named her Dalylah.
I sketched Dalylah and forgot about the snakes.
The inspiration from visits like these follows me to the studio. It's not just the specimens themselves that I find so fascinating, it's how they are arranged in these collection spaces that I can't seem to fully wrap my brain around. It's what they are placed next to, the carts and cabinets that they are rested on or in, the overall oddness of their new existence that is so intensely intriguing.
Below are the two works in progress I've got going.
I still haven't figured out the allure of animal skin rugs.
I swapped out the jar of fish (although it was totally looking like a jar of baby birds) for a beetle.