February : Kate Clark’s Animal Sculptures with Human Faces

Untitled (Black Bear) by Kate Clark


The Phlox has taken a recent disgusted fascination with Rogue Taxidermy, the new “hipster” (The Snottor raises his eye-scales at such words) take on taxidermy as a form of art. The Phlox, as one of the more sappy animal-lover-tree-hugger types The Snottor has ever had the misfortune to meet, does not find that any form of taxidermy sits well with her, but, as an equally-sappy lover of art, she cannot help but be interested. 

Lifting The Snottor’s ancient and appropriately stone-heavy bulk up in her measly, understandably struggling flower-arms, she has forced him to peruse the web for such specimens. While the pair of them felt mutually ambivalent about most of the findings, there was the work of one artist in particular that left the Phlox so dazzled that she has coerced The Snottor (with perhaps the morally ambiguous use of ice-cream sandwiches) to discuss it in one of his esteemed and highly looked-forward-to posts. 

My Heart Beats Like Thunder by Kate Clark

About this Artist:

In general, Rogue Taxidermy involves the mixture of pieces from various animals obtained in a humane way with other materials, creating such objects as ox-hoof zip-up high heels, baby goats with lustrous mermaid tails, or a cyborg steampunk coyote. These are personally not much to The Snottor’s taste (or The Phlox’s stomach), and although objectively interesting, do not leave him with a lasting artistic impression.

The work of Kate Clark, however, always stands out. Using animals hides, she recreates a life-like wild animal, but with one key difference; she gives it a human face. She creates masks with rubber eyes that look perfectly human yet blend in with the colors and textures of the animal, and which are attached with silver pins to emphasize the seams and thus the reconstruction of the creature.

Clark’s artist statement, which can be found in full here https://www.kateclark.com/artist-statement/ (along with all her art), emphasizes the connection between the civilized and culturally advanced (as she puts it) human with its primal instincts and the connections to bodies that in many cases have not greatly evolved. What struck The Snottor in particular about her work, is the way it treats the relationship between human and animal; in a way, she gives “humanity” to wild animals, but that is not really the right word, The Snottor thinks, because it clearly, as Clark’s art shows, is a quality that belongs to more than human beings.

Matriarch by Kate Clark

The point is that Clark, in her art, silently breaks down the boundaries between human and animal, and in that way both raises animals to the humanity of human beings, and also raises humans to the beauty and silent knowledge of animals. 

There is something about her work that always captivates, that speaks to some truth that The Snottor thinks was in most of us all along.

What do you think about this? Do you think taxidermy is a perfectly viable form of art, or disgustingly inhumane? Do you have a favorite contemporary artist? Comment below and tell us! 

January : Waterhouse’s Boreas (part two)

But remember how I called him radical? Find the first part of this post HERE.


 Ovid, Waterhouse’s most likely source material, tells. He tells who Orithyia’s related to, what her sons do; he tells of Boreas’ anger, he tells of Boreas’ actions—it is all telling, it is all what happens to her. Victorians did a lot of telling themselves; deciding the proper sphere of women, telling them the ideal they ought to live up to. 

Waterhouse, however, does no telling at all. He eschews the plot that Ovid, and most other treaters of this tale, focus on. The story is cast aside for the moment Waterhouse depicts. 

The girl is aligned with the nature around her. The colors of her clothes echo those around her, she like the nature around her is buffeted by the wind. The deep, soulful colors and textures connect her to her environment; the viewer’s eyes are drawn to her face, framed by her arm, by the billow of her mantle. Her face, her expression, and the daffodil in her ear.

In such a dark, deep color palette, the yellow is surprising. Daffodils are spring, a season far removed from the setting of the painting. Spring is rebirth, and change, and generally, in the language of flowers, that is just what the daffodil symbolizes. 

The Metamorphoses is all about rebirth. Characters meet life anew in changed forms, with their life situations changed drastically—and often tragically—along with it. As Peter Trippi puts it, in his book J. W. Waterhouse

“it was Ovid’s Metamorphoses to which he [Waterhouse] returned in every phase of his career, celebrating physical transformations as emblems of the passage from suffering to acceptance, from death to eternal life”. 

The point? 

In his portrayal of this girl, Waterhouse accepts the unknown. He does not tell us what is happening to her, how she relates to other aspects of the story. He does not tell anything about her, as his time could be so wont to do. Instead, Waterhouse accepts the silence of the moment, focusing in on the girl’s mysterious expression, an expression showing deepness, deep as the colors she wears, as the circles throughout the painting. The daffodil he places behind her ear suggests her own possibilities for transformation, for metamorphosis, subtly transcending the views of his society and time to create a gorgeous exploration of the mystical feminine. 

What do you think about all this? Are you a hardcore Waterhouse fan, hater, or new initiate? Comment below!

January : Marina Bondas, her Life and Work

(picture from Bondas’ Facebook page)


Having seen many ‘19s in his days, The Snottor remains undaunted by this one. Looking back he would say that this ’19 is certainly less glamorous than last century’s, and certainly less tense than the century’s before that.

As we approach the dark-night-of-the-soul month of February, and are firmly in the whole chilly, sniffly, and dim post-holiday season before Spring, The Snottor finds that some good inspiration is in high order. 

About this Artist:

For those further interested, a fabulous article has been written about Bondas, available HERE.

The Phlox in particular finds Marina Bondas’ life and work deeply inspiring; Bondas is a great artist in her own right, a conservatory-trained violinist–but she has done quite a bit more with her art than just make it.

Marina Bondas was born in Kiev, before moving to Germany with her family as a child; the civil unrest and war in Ukraine ironically has helped her reconnect to her mother country, where she now serves and gives freely of herself to connect with her people.

(from Bondas’ Facebook page)

In a war-torn region, there is much that a brave volunteer, worker or citizen might be called to do, and art is low on the list. There is always need in any war or disaster for health providers, people to staff refugee centers, care for orphans and trauma victims, etc. 

Bondas, however, has chosen a different route.

She returns to her homeland, where she performs in refugee centers, private homes, and often for ragtag groups of ordinary civilians she meets along the way. She shares music with people accompanied by the sounds of shelling outside.

Bondas is, in The Snottor’s opinion, the greatest artist alive. War is perhaps one of the most devastating phenomenons of being human; peace is disrupted, safety and predictability are swept away. Loved ones and the future you saw for yourself are lost, not by the forces of the world but to the brutality of other human beings. Art is often the last thing on anyone’s minds.

But art can be one of the greatest tools for humanity; she bravely brings it into the lives of people who need it most, giving them all, and herself, something other than war, something beyond devastation and uncertainty.

(from Bondas’ Facebook page)

She also runs a summer camp in Ukraine to share music with children traumatized by the war many of them no nothing other than. She depends on donations every year to put it on; if you’re at all interested, as The Snottor is (he fishes his coach wildly for spare change), the Phlox has obligingly provided information (from Bondas’ Facebook page) below:

Marina Bondas

September 21, 2018 ·

Dear friends, as my facebook reveals – I have birthday tomorrow. It means a “free wish”.

… What can I wish on such day? I have already everything to feel happy and enjoy the life.

There is only one thing – my baby, which already grew big and united many people to a family. And i want this baby to grow bigger – there is still much to grow!

So… if you want to make me a present, feel free to donate for our project #MUSIK_RETTET.

My biggest wish and a biggest present would be to arrange another summer camps next summer, and to develop our projects in Ukraine.


Ukraine Hilfe Berlin

IBAN: DE68 8306 5408 0104 872215



PayPal: ukraine.hilfe@gmail.com

If you’re still not in love with the project, just watch the videos here:


More info here: www.heartforukraine.com

Facebook: Heart for Ukraine

December : Spoonflower (part two)

Missed the first part of this post? Click HERE

In this lovely age of the 21st century, one can do a lot of things with one’s art. Spoonflower is a fast-growing business, where anyone from the lowliest amateur to a professional designer can upload their fabric design and have it printed in anything from cotton to silk. 

And it’s actually easier than I (a tech-challenged individual) would have thought. If you’re averse to the investment that is Photoshop, you can do what I did and get the free trial, which is actually surprisingly lengthy. On Photoshop, I was able to cut out by different instruments, delete the white space around them, and assemble them in new ways to create trios.

Wanna see my fabric? Two different designs are available here:


And here:


But that’s only the beginning of the story! From there, you can order your fabric (or any of the other many fabulous designs on Spoonflower), and whip it up into many kinds of projects to suit your needs. For instance, as the esteemed Gardenia (another flower in The Snottor’s garden) did, making musically-themed presents for music teachers…

A stylish bag for carrying music
An equally stylish infinity scarf…
…seen at design advantage here

December : Spoonflower (part one)

The Phlox must confess herself to be an avid, if sadly amateur, painter. Her favorite medium is watercolor and pencil but can also be seen at work with gauche or a pen; her favorite subject, nature, but what must take a close second…

Gauche and Pencil

Musical Instruments! 

Watercolor and Pencil

As the devoted reader will remember, The Phlox has written an entire novel on the subject of musicians, and thus it will not come as a surprise that she is one of that disastrous number herself. Having doodled stringed instruments in the margin of her notes somewhat pathologically for some time, she finally took to formalities, trying to maximize her minimal skill. 

Done with a Calligraphy Ink Pen

Bonus! Funny musical botanical drawings!

Inspired by the Nonsense Botany Illustrations of the much-admired Edward Lear…

Drawn by Edward Lear, not the Phlox 😉
Drawn by Edward Lear, not the Phlox 😉

But what is this “spoonflower”, the reader wonders? What use does the Phlox possibly put this immature doodlings to? Stick around to find out….