Taxidermy, Bugs, and Flying 'Fairy Skeletons': The Art of Tessa Farmer

"I'm more interested in evolution and survival, and how things adapt to their surroundings -- and it's really about eating, finding food, and hunting," the London-based artist explains in the video below. Farmer's sculptures are haunting dioramas and floating installations created with elements found in nature, tweezers, and glue. She crafts tiny humanlike skeletons and gives them insect wings so they look like evil little sprites. In one piece, a dead mouse faces off with a miniscule knight: a bony fairy sporting ladybug wings and a lance, riding a black beetle. Don't let the butterflies fool you; Farmer's imaginary universe is violent and totally unnerving. 

No animals are harmed in the making of her work, Farmer says; "I find a lot of dead insects in the streets ... I'm always looking at the ground. Then I pick them up. They have do be dead. I don't kill things." This documentary portrait was produced by Alex Tobin, Adrea Cadorin, and Tom Ellis for Gestalten, a publisher of books on art and design. 

Watch more videos by Gestalten on the Atlantic Video channel

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

Saving the Bees

Honeybees contribute more than $15 billion to the U.S. economy. A short documentary considers how desperate beekeepers are trying to keep their hives alive.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Video

Just In