Monday 29 April 2024

Death Begets Death - A Fungi Frenzy

Fungi have been one of my great passions in recent years. I have enjoyed photographing fungus whenever I happen upon them and continually challenge myself to improve at identification.
But one thing which I am always striving to do is paint and draw more mushrooms.

One day in mid 2023, in what must have been a particularly surreal day in some strange corner of my mind, I had some rather interesting ideas for a new artwork series.
The series of thumbnail sketches which ensued grew increasingly odd. Things growing out of skulls has long been one of my favourite subjects for art, as pieces such as 'Time Enough For the Earth in the Grave ...' probably suggest.
This time the concept was a little more literal. 

By the time my mind calmed down I was left with a series of frenzied scribblings of skulls and their new found fungal friends. Mushrooms growing from bone in a whole host of weird and wonderful ways. Erupting from eye sockets, clinging to femurs, blossoming from jawbones, creeping across cranium, nourished from fragments.
The whole idea of life springing from death, in the most literal, visually surprising way. 

And yet, the sinister twist of the series is that every fungus featured is poisonous. So the strange, unsettling message is infact 'death begets death'. But the meaning is only fully appreciated if you know your mushrooms of course!

The series is currently ongoing as ideas continue to take shape and a life of their own. And with no shortage of fungi to feature who knows when it will end ...