This collage was made from vintage book about mammals. Recently my work has been turning towards mythology and literal interpretations of animals from legend and reality. This is my interpretation of a sea cow, a common name for manatees, which have a long history of being mistaken by medieval sailors as mermaids.
I really like this piece, as it is simple yet effective. At first, this creature looks ridiculous, but after a moment or two you start to think that perhaps it could be a real creature.
These collages were made from a vintage book of mammals, which I have been cutting up and reassembling, With these three however, I was interested to see how they would look with delicate pencil wings drawn on.
Flight has always fascinated humankind, and yet it is something we have never fully achieved for ourselves organically (such as evolving to grow wings etc) but in the natural world there are thousands of species of birds and insects who can fly.
Hybridisation and genetic mutation are also things humans experiment with, but only on animals.With these three pieces of work I explored the idea of extremely heavy animals evolving wings naturally or through human interference. The images look ridiculous; no one can imagine these creatures would actually be able to fly because logic tells us that these delicate wings would never be able to support these animals, let alone their body and bone structure hindering any chances to fly. However, the very appearance of wings makes them look fantastical and whimsical, and can make us wonder what the world would be like if these creatures were flying around.
I worked on an A3 watercolour, pencil and acrylic painting of a water horse, or kelpie, from Celtic mythology. I wanted this one to look dreamy and yet dark, which I think I’ve accomplished. The tail is painted in mother of pearl shimmery acrylic paint, giving it a fish like appearance.
A few weeks ago, I did a small drawing of an owl moth; a moth with the head of an owl, a literal interpretation of a real insect called an owl moth. I thought it was quite successful and an interesting concept so I made an A3 watercolour painting.
I’m pleased with the end result, and will be showing this alongside some other pieces in my graduate exhibition.
I like this concept of literal interpretations of animals, and will continue to make work based on this.
As the degree show draws closer, I’m experimenting with adding (ethically sourced) butterfly wings to various drawings and collages.
For my degree piece I am planning a 2D curiosity cabinet, which will have drawings, paintings and collages pinned to a wall. Together, these pieces will work together to make the viewer question what is real and what isn’t, as well as considering the implications of some of the creatures pictured.
Genetic engineering and hybrids are relatively common nowadays, but few people understand or care about the consequences of mutation and hybridisation. This is an issue my work hopes to make people consider.
Hippocampus and kelpies are ‘water horses’, found most often in Celtic folklore. Stories about them tell of a terrifying, devilish creature which would lure lost travellers and children to dark pools of water, then drown them. Kelpies also link to the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, as many people believe the monster is in fact a kelpie.
I think what is most interesting about this legend is that horses are generally seen as a ‘gentle’ creature, but the legends usually say that the kelpie has glowing red eyes, like a demon. The above drawings of kelpies with various fish and seahorse tails look quite harmless and whimsical, but if you know the legend you realise that the creatures are dark and dangerous. The idea of the kelpie is one I want to develop further through painting and collage.
I’m really pleased with these two pieces and want to explore this theme more; combining terrifying dinosaurs with ‘gentle’ animal heads, such as the deer and rabbit. The hybrids work well, and look convincing enough, with just the right amount of absurdity. I think it is interesting how if your eye is drawn to the head first, the creature looks quite harmless and gentle, but as you take in the body of the velociraptor you realise that a creature like this would actually be very dangerous and frightening, in real life.