Old Scratch

Crossbreeding animals tends to have varying results -- for instance, combine a horse and an ass and you can either wind up with a mule or kill Catherine the Great. Bringing animals together for the sake of art, Old Scratch.From a 'burban artist working in everything from block printing, to pen and ink, to acrylics, OS is a hotbed of imaginative animal hybrids that, like Hugh Hefner, obliterate the boundaries of what should be biologically possible. Curious combos realized on pieces of basswood include a "Scorpmunk", with the head/body of a chipmunk and scorpion claws/tail; a ring-tailed, tooth-filled "Racoonigator"; and a seahorse sporting a colorfully feathered tail called a "Seacock", whose distinguishing characteristics include not requiring a punchline. Apart from animals, other works include a painting of a spider-like robot hovering above a gang of ghoulish green aliens, a series of geometric wood-burned prints spiced up with watercolor, and a forked-tongue "Skull Priest" poised to sacrifice a snake, a move no doubt learned from watching Mike Shanahan kickstart Jay Cutler's career.He's also printing Egyptian icons like the Sphinx and the pyramids onto small boxes, and if you can't get excited about a small box, the ass is clearly you.