Portland

Making art from things no longer with us

It's not unusual to be fascinated with dead things -- road kill, cadavers, even Jeff Goldblum. Turning that fascination into fine art: Brooke Weston.

The 29-year-old daughter of a hunter, Weston early on became "numbed out to the gutting and skinning" and started collecting taxidermied trophies as a hobby; she now transforms her sizable collection into arguably gross, definitely engrossing artwork by dissecting the beasts and installing detailed "altered worlds", resulting in altered beasts perfect for the homes of those with the Spirit Balls to display them. Works of note include:

Jones Denver: A tusked black boar head with attached lamp, opened to reveal a tiny Parisian attic art studio complete with exposed beams, tiny hand painted nudes, and wine bottles littering the floor. Or should that be swine bottles? Nice.

Mystic Pinky: Inspired by an abiding interest in Tibetan monasteries, this pink hued ram with massive curling horns has been turned into an Asian landscape complete with pagoda, but not a crystal pagoda, because meditation's hard enough without meth.

Honeysuckle Rose: A deer shoulder mount with a castle tangled in the antlers, and magic mushrooms spilling from the neck, meant to evoke a "dark fantasy theme park", which is either a racist XXX Disneyland, or a YES song about something that isn't sex.

Never hurting for raw material, Weston creates about 30 pieces a year, from one involving a squirrel dripping blood into a teacup ("Tea Party"), to another incorporating a human skull -- so irresistibly macabre, you'll find yourself saying "That's Gold, baby!"

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