Edith Waddell’s vibrant, surreal paintings form beautiful, symmetrical imagery filled with otherworldly flora and fauna. Her work combines feminine motifs, strange creatures, and delicate, pastel colors to create hybrid imagery. Full of symbolism and feminine spirituality, Waddell’s work does not just depict elements of the natural world, but the emotional, inner self. Her choice of colors seem to glow in neon hues, creating intense visuals that almost seem hallucinatory. Each composition blooms in beautiful symmetry, as they resemble inkblots tests one might see at a psychiatric exam. This resemblance reflects upon our inner psyche, as Waddell often pulls inspiration from imagery often found in her dreams. Many of her compositions resemble the female anatomy, with heavy maternal symbolism expressing the womb. Although whimsical and vivacious, there is an element of darkness that can be found in her work, like the reoccurring skull and the all-seeing eyes. There is a conflicting nature present, as there are elements of life in her budding flowers, but also death in the skulls and bones.
Originally hailing from Peru, Edith Waddell is now based out of LA. She is an artist of many talents, as she not just a painter, but an illustrator and printmaker. She often combines collage, digital, and traditional paintings to create her crossbred, botanical imagery.
“My goal is to make visible that which is overlooked, confronting the public with the dark and mysterious aspects of their own psyches, emotional struggles, and their relationship with the natural environment. My work is an invitation to make an introspective examination and reflection into our own existence, both physical and spiritual.”
Nathalie Lagacé renders hybrid creatures that are both beautiful and hideous, half human and half beast. Her beautifully rendered drawings display tenderness and anguish, as she lovingly creates these intriguing creatures. However, they are stuck somewhere in limbo, between two beings as they cry out. Highly skilled at drawing, Nathalie Lagacé forms very believable creatures, which make them all the more disturbing. These seemingly cute babies become alarming with their pig heads and rat-tails. Perhaps the most shocking image is Lagacé’s drawing of a baby with bird legs, but they appear to be cooked, ready for you to pick right off the body. Lagacé has created a series that will not soon leave your mind, as the strange images of these bizarre creatures are unlike any that you will ever see.
This series, titled Legacy, points a stern finger at the way we impact the world around us. Much of her work is strongly environmental, displaying what our actions could possibly cause in the future. These crossbreeds of animals like zebras, pigs, and rabbits with humans represent our “legacy,” what we leave behind. The artist’s work reflects upon nature and our relationship with it, the positive and negative. Her art is full of harsh contrasts, whether it is between two conflicting creatures or the dark graphite against the stark white background. Make sure to check out her other black and white, graphite drawings, which have a similar environmental message. (via Hi-Fructose)
Erupting skulls and beautifully powerful hybrid animals take over the streets in the work of Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz. His work looks more like illustrations at first glance, due to their brilliant line work and convincing detail. However, each bizarre creature is much larger than life, climbing up each wall and towering over the viewer. Mixing a concoction of different animals to form entirely new species is one of the more recognizable trademarks in Diaz’s artwork, along with the repeating, iconic skull. Normally a mark of death, Diaz’s skull often spring forth life, as many of them hold birds that sprout from the cranium. Vivid colors and expressive detail show off this street artist’s skill.
The imagination seen in Alexis Diaz’s work is both incredible and intriguing, as combinations of animals come to life on the walls of the streets. In one mural, an elephant sports tentacles like that of an octopus, while in another, a bear and a buffalo become one creature. In one of Diaz’s most immense and striking murals, a hybrid snake and eagle circle around their prey of a skull with vessels of a heart. The animals rendered in Diaz’s work create a whole new space in which to live, as well as a whole new kind of animal. His handiwork can be seen sprawled all over the walls of the world in places such as Arizona, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, France, Austria, and Mexico.
(via This is Colossal)
Artist Patricia Piccinini has a very impressive and eclectic range of artistic talents. Her body of work includes drawings, installations, and even a giant hot-air balloon that has floated across Australia. Her astonishingly hyper-real sculptures, however, truly give you an image that you will not soon forget. Made from silicone, acrylic, and fiberglass, Patricia Piccinini forms creatures that appear to be somewhat human, but altogether alien. They seem to be alive, as they stare back at you with emotion-filled eyes. They exhibit traits of humans, like lifelike hair and fleshy skin, but are unmistakably not. It is as if they are hybrid animals living amongst us. Many of her sculptures include one of her hairless, mutated creatures alongside of what appears to be a real human. The dichotomy between this possible mutated creatures and a “human” is interesting, because neither one is actually real.
Patricia Piccinini’s work explores ethical issues surrounding cloning, DNA, and genetic mutation. Her shocking sculptures point a firm finger at human kind’s manipulation of nature and the possible consequences. The effect science has on the natural world and the creatures inhabiting it are a reoccurring theme in Piccinini’s work. We see her sculptures that look so realistic; it is as if these grotesque creatures really do exist. Portraying them with human-like features gives way to pity and empathy for the creatures. The artist’s incredibly intriguing work is one of unbelievable skill that holds a strong, often controversial, message on genetic alteration and mankind’s hand in nature.
Beijing artist Wang Ruilin dreams of animal/nature hybrids, surreal and beautiful, influenced by fine art techniques and aesthetics. In his ongoing series, “Pursuit of Dreams,” these unreal images come to life as large copper sculptures.
Some of the animals carry landscapes: cloud lined mountains rest on deer-like antlers; a relief map spreads across the back of a yak; the backs of a crocodile and a whale hold mountain ranges. In Ark, another whale serves as vessel, holding an ocean and icebergs on its back. The play of scale in familiar forms makes these sculptures somewhat whimsical, despite their literal interpretation. The integration of living creature with land mass and body of water lends an added dimension to the idea of “nature.”
“The Ark series is the result of my most recent efforts. Infused with my true feelings and emotions, they send the message that life sustains nature. As I grew older with more life experience, I started to doubt what I used to learn. These works are the denial of our current world and a depiction of an ideal one. I oppose the self-centeredness of human beings and the ruthless exploitation of other species and natural resources. I seek harmony with the nature. Nature’s greatness lies in her inclusion of everything on earth, while man’s greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.”
Some of the “Pursuit of Dreams” sculptures are more streamlined versions of actual animals. With their smooth surfaces and self-contained air, the Horse, Rhino and Bird sculptures reveal Ruilin’s life-long interest in animals. His art influences are also long-standing:
“Eastern classical art also gives me inspiration. I like deep and pure Chinese flowers and bright and cool verdigris with rich colors and full of profoundness and uniqueness.”
You won’t find cadavers or skeletal remains in ceramic artist Cynthia Consentino’s “Exquisite Corpse Series.” The project takes its name from the Parisian Surrealist parlor game, in which each player wrote a word or drew an image on a sheet of paper, folded the paper to conceal it, and passed it to the next player for his or her contribution. The results were wildly incongruous poems and images, gathered ideas from many minds.
In Consentino’s series, hers is the only mind at work, and the results are strangely charming and more than a little disturbing. The hybrid figures combine animal with human and the occasion household object. They play with the idea of gender stereotypes, something that began to interest the artist after reading a study where five-year-olds were asked to name a representational animal.
“The boys identified with animals that were predatory, and the girls with animals that were cute and cuddly. One girl even answered with a flower. I thought that there would also be girls who wanted to be tigers, but then I remembered loving playing a flower in a school play at that age. (Source)”
To loosen these gender constructs, she made varied heads, torsos, and legs then assembled them in ceramic sculptures of various configurations, some almost life-size. With their softly rounded limbs and pastel and pretty color palette they can seem almost sweet, but the fierce wolves heads and deadly weapons belie their innocence.
“My style seems a bit nostalgic, something from the fifties, or from folk art. It derives much of its character from children’s things: fairy tale, cartoons, dolls, games, as well as the domestic world. The work often incorporates imagery that is loaded with symbolism and history, such as flowers, animals and the ceramic figurine. It is very much about the familiar, things of our dreams, our stories, our childhood. (Source)”
Chinese sculptor Liu Xue combines a human with an animal, creating a hybrid being. Each being has a human head with animal appendage (or appendages). A man is merged with a pig, a woman with a chicken, a man with a dog, and more.The result is something we haven’t seen before, one that seems non-threatening, but still grotesque at the same time. Xue has honed his craft and painted the sculptures to be so life like that they fall into the uncanny valley.
Xue’s choice to pair a human with an animal seem to be because it’s funny, and the hybrids fit with each other thematically. For instance, a giant, bald man is given the tiny wings of a bat. Another work pits this same man with a seahorse bottom. We know both of these creatures are tiny, and the disparity in size is what makes it humorous. Other sculptures aren’t so amusing. An older man is combined with the body of greyhound dog. The gaunt appearance of the dog’s body and pained look on the man’s face makes this piece somber.
The unnatural combination of Xue’s work explores the notion of what’s considered attractive or glamourous. A naked, conventionally pretty woman, for instance, is given the unwieldy feet of a chicken. Likewise, a young man has the same features. In the artist’s attempt to make both appear seductive, it’s hard to imagine these creatures moving gracefully.
Originally from Armenia, artist Ana Bagayan studied illustration at California’s Art Center College of Design. Her many paintings and drawings are populated with doll-like youths and human-alien hybrids, showcasing the artist’s special interest in the metaphysical. In particular, many of her hybrid creatures were inspired by the stories told by avowed alien abductees while under hypnosis. Bagayan’s drawings and paintings have been displayed in galleries across the US, including most recently at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California. Take a look at more metaphysical marvels after the jump.