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

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"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

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

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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