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I had the pleasure to model for Derrick Van Der Kolk today at the DVDK Studio in The Cotton Factory for his series on “People That Are Interesting”. I love how raw and honest these are – Derrick is really amazing at his craft – and has the most incredible ability to bring all your emotions out and throw them on the table for all to see. No retouching, just straight up portraits of people as they are.
Check his work out on his company’s website: Style Group and consider hiring him and his awesome team for your next shoot!
I’m a huge animal lover – I never thought I would end up doing this kind of thing. But a couple of years ago I sold my house to a delightfully creative woman named Ankixa Risk who introduced me to the world of casual taxidermy. Since I first took one of her classes, I’ve been strangely drawn into this as a hobby and now find myself brainstorming all kinds of different scenarios I’d like to create in the near future.
And y’know what? It’s not as gross as I thought it’d be. Because we work with ethically-treated frozen animals, and really, you’re only removing the skin and fur, there’s no blood and guts or major smell to worry about. It’s actually less disgusting than stuffing a turkey or cleaning a fish. You just gotta get over the initial shock of working with a dead animal. If you’re a meat eater, it won’t be that challenging. I mean, we EAT dead animals all the time, right? And there’s nothing wrong with gaining a new understanding of the balance between life and death. Plus, all of the animals have died of natural causes and the “meat” goes directly to a retile zoo where it’s used as crocodile food.
Since then, Mortimer’s been gaining a bit of a following. Shortly after the first class, he made an appearance in the GTA section of the Toronto Star weekend edition, which was super exciting and really boosted the exposure for Ankixa’s Casual Taxidermy classes. And just last week, he was featured in a TV segment on TFO’s “24.7”!
This Friday both Mortimer and I will be heading to Club Absinthe for the James North Art Crawl. Our art show will include a few other artists and we’ll be doing some live art alongside some great musicians, so if you’re in the Hamilton area, please come check it out – it’s sure to be an interesting night to say the least! If you can’t make it out, you can always check out my Abominable Ink shop and pick up some of my great items for sale!
And if you’re ever interested in partaking in Ankixa’s Casual Taxidermy classes, check out her website!
There’s something to be said for obsession in the world of art. It’s what drives us to collect, cohere, and create. For Markham, Ontario native Ellen Jewett, her obsession with creating sculptural forms at a young age, and her love of biology are what propelled her into the wonderously surreal world of expressive sculpture that she thrives in today. Having studied Biological Anthropology and Fine Art at McMaster University, she took her education as the groundwork to spring her forward into full time studio work almost immediately after graduating with honours, and continues to expand her knowledge with apprenticeships, additional professional classes, as well as teaching at various levels.
For Jewett, according to her website bio, sculpting is all about the idea of life itself, and the subtleties of the nature of biology; it’s narratives, movement, balance, and emotions. There is no limitation to the medium in which she works – she bends the laws of nature to create her vision rather than be constrained by her materials. Her works are grotesque, and surreal, evoking the essence of the abstraction of biology and nature while effortlessly floating in an otherworldly ambiance.
Personally, the Slum Fox is my favourite. The expressive nature in which she constructs the forms and works with light and shadow is beyond compare. The details are so intricately crafted, and lend such a whimsical and fantastic quality – right down to the little clotheslines… they absolutely kill me. I wish this piece was still available because I would have bought it up in a heartbeat.
Check out more of her amazing pieces on her website.
Buy from her Etsy shop.
Check out her Deviant Art gallery.
Keep up to date on exhibitions on her blog.