Heavy Wings

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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.

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Animal Moths

IMG_20150420_0001 IMG_20150420_0002 IMG_20150420_0003These three drawings show literal interpretations of real moths, displayed with the head of the animal in the name, and the wings of the actual moth. I think these are all really successful and quite interesting, especially the owl and magpie moths because they look quite realistic.

These images are inspired by medieval manuscripts which would show illustrations of very literal and warped interpretations of creatures from other lands, drawn from letters and written or verbal descriptions of animals, either real or mythical. Below are examples of this; a dragon, a camel and a crocodile.

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Hippocampus and Kelpies

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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.

Mythical Creatures

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20150418_123744These creatures are all mythical and legendary beasts found in various cultures from around the world. I think the bull snake and chicken snake work particularly well, as they look strange and a bit disturbing. The chicken snake (cockatrice) and basilisk are also interesting because reptiles and birds are linked (dinosaurs and evolution),so a very literal hybrid of the two works quite well. This theme of reptiles and birds is one I am keen to develop further.

Some of these creatures are also heraldic beasts, meaning they were often shown in medieval manuscripts and banners. I think this is an interesting concept as images of these mythical creatures could be found in many places (churches, architecture, banners, books, stained glass windows and signs) and there were probably a lot of people who believed these beasts existed.

Rabbit and Stag Raptors

20150409_123829 20150409_123807I’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.

Mineral Beetles

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This work is inspired by vintage posters of natural history, in this case, beetles created from vintage imagery of crystals and minerals. I think this piece is very successful, as the insects look very sci-fi and strange, yet at the same time, quite believable.

Crystal Dinosaurs

20150409_123457 20150409_123527 20150409_123509 20150409_123503¬†Working with the theme of creating creatures from images cut from vintage imagery, I created some crystal dinosaurs. The crystals are cut from a vintage print, and I don’t think the crystal dinosaurs work particularly well, but it was an interesting exploration. I chose dinosaurs and crystals because of the ethereal, almost magical properties crystals seem to have, combined with dinosaurs which seem very mythical (even though we know they existed), means the images appear quite sci-fi, and almost turn the dinosaurs into insects, which have hard, shiny casings, much like the crystals here.

Dinosaur Eggs

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20150409_123401These two pieces draw on the Bird Eggs pieces I made a few months ago, combining vintage imagery of eggs into a drawing of an animal with an egg for a body. The stegosaurus works well with the egg body, but the t-rex does not. I do quite like this idea of animals with egg bodies, as eggs are very fragile and dainty, whereas dinosaurs were massive, lumbering beasts.

A cornucopia of animals

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I finally got round to scanning these various drawings into my computer and posting them here. Although my work has now moved away from these representational and fairly realistic animals, they are still key in my development of this portfolio of work. Penwork and mark making has always been the root of my work and I’ll always enjoy drawing whimsical animals. When my current project of hybrid sci-fi animals is finished I’ll be returning to this style of artwork, looking to make some prints and cards to sell.