The art of ethical taxidermy: A More Modern Prometheus
Styles speaks to the ethical taxidermist, Krysten Newby, about the truth behind the art of taxidermy and how she turned her passion for art and nature into a business.
There is something about seeing an animal in the flesh; something you cannot get from an image. It is tangible, you can understand its weight, its height, its literal embodiment.
In a previous life, I studied Zoology and Ecology, and I remember reading books of animal keys (imagine a pick-your-own adventure but in the end, you always end up being an animal of some sort) or books on animal mechanics, where the technical illustrations always looked a little... off.
Even the best illustrations or videos cannot do the real creatures justice. Then, I would step into the university’s Zoology Museum, a lifeless menagerie, full of beasts great and small, and some now extinct. Even if some of these specimens had seen better days, they took up physical space, instilled with a quasi-potential for life.
I think that if you study any form of life, you must have at least a small amount of fascination with death as sometimes this is the only way to learn how the trick is done. When dissecting a frog, you learn a lot in the process, but sadly, in the end, you are left with a dead frog.
So here lies the importance of a skilled taxidermist, an illusionist who can seem to bring the dead back to life. Although not the real thing... we can sometimes learn far more from a good approximation. We speak to artist and taxidermist Krysten Newby, about how she sees her craft and selling these ideas to the world around her.