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Friday, September 2, 2011

Look away if you scare easily: New Zealand taxidermist uses roadkill to create furry freaks that are the STUFF of nightmares


Bare-faced cheek: Andrew Lancaster has brazenly put a plastic doll's face on a possum's body, completing the freakish artwork with a forked tongue flicking from the doll's mouth

During the day, Andrew Lancaster is a mild-mannered marina caretaker, a British ex-pat living happily in New Zealand. It's only when he begins to think about his hobby that things start getting weird.

That's because, in his spare time, the 57-year-old likes to dismember and reassemble the bodies of dead animals to create nightmarish chimera-like creatures.

It sounds gruesome, and it is, but self-trained taxidermist Mr Lancaster seems unperturbed by the notion that people may think he's funny in the head.

Duck a l'wrong: What starts off as a rabbit ends up as a duck in another of Lancaster's oddball creations. Surprisingly, he has a devoted following and sells many of his works online

Indeed, he is proud of many of his creations, which include: a possum with a doll's face and a forked tongue; a rabbit with the head of a duck; a goldfish with the head of a blackbird; and a possum with wings and devil horns.

Naturally, his art has some reaching for their wallets, and other reaching for sick bags.

The taxidermist told New Zealand website Stuff: 'Some people call me sick and some think it’s pretty good.'

Hellish vision: This winged creature, with fangs and horns, is the sort of thing that you would expect to find among Satan's minions... rather than in a suburban back garden in New Zealand

He said he had been dabbling in strange hybrid creations for the past two years, having taken up taxidermy after moving from England to New Zealand 14 years ago.

He said: 'I saw heaps of dead things on the side of the road and I thought it was a waste. When I’m driving along the road and see something I pull up and go back for it. There are probably a few people wondering what I’m doing.'

Pigs really can fly: The sty's no longer the limit for this porker, thanks to a pair of bird wings

Mr Lancaster insists that all the animals he re-arranges are already dead when he gets his hands on them, and that he would never intentionally kill an animal for his art.

For example, the goldfish used in a piece with a blackbird's head literally jumped out of the pond in Mr Lancaster's garden and promptly presented itself as raw material - according to Mr Lancaster.

Taxidermist extraordinaire: Mr Lancaster says of his work: 'Some people call me sick and some think it¿s pretty good'

Taxidermy is not for everyone, and Mr Lancaster is pretty matter-of-fact when it comes to his methods of preparation. He says he leaves the carcasses on top of his boiler to dry, and then places them in the freezer 'under the ice cream and vegetables'.

He makes his own body moulds - the inside structure that gives the lifeless bodies their shape - out of straw, cotton and wire.

Flying fish: The head of a blackbird has been stuck on the body of a goldfish. If it's all too much to take in, concentrate instead on the pretty rainbow in the background

He said: 'You make an incision from the bottom of the chest, down between the legs and you have to literally just turn it inside out... then when you put it back together it goes the other way.

'You have to get it right to look like the body that came out. I guess it’s just like putting a rag doll together.'

Perhaps unsurprisingly, his wife doesn't allow him to hang on to his creations. A little more surprisingly, however, he has managed to sell his works online and his Facebook site Andrew Lancaster Taxidermy Creations has 241 members.

Oh dear! An earless possum gets the Lancaster treatment, this time getting a couple of vampire's fangs and the body of a chicken. Understandably, Mrs Lancaster doesn't like having the artworks around the house

Not best pleased: This possum appears a little annoyed about having a magpie's wings attached to its body. Mr Lancaster says his hybrids are 'like putting a rag doll together'

source: dailymail


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