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.

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