Taxidermist gets avant-garde
Sun, 15 Jul 2012 6:32p.m.
By Adrien Taylor
In a garage not far from Tauranga, a man tends to his animals – dead animals.
He cuts up them up and stitches them back together in ways Mother Nature never intended.
It sounds like a horror novel, but Andrew Lancaster’s little creations give many people lots of enjoyment.
Stuffing and preserving animals isn't just a job for taxidermist Andrew Lancaster, he is genuinely fascinated by them.
"A lot of people seem to like them as collectables," he says.
He found a possum foetus inside its dead mother's pouch by the side of the road. He preserves it in a jar of ethylated spirits.
But Mr Lancaster is building a bigger reputation for his avant-garde style of taxidermy.
“I put rabbits, possum heads, mix them up with dolls and teddy bears, body of a rabbit and a duck head on the front, a possum, and I cut the tail off and I put a magpie’s head and neck and chest on it and called it a mossum.”
He came to New Zealand from the UK and took a job at the Tauranga Marina, doing some taxidermy in his spare time.
Fifteen years on, he has given up his job at the Marina to pursue his real passion.
“You could call it modern art. I've seen a lot of modern art that I wouldn't particularly buy and put in my house. I think my stuff is a lot better than what you see.”
For some people, his creatures might be the stuff of nightmares. For Mr Lancaster, they're the creations of his dreams.
“When I'm trying to go to sleep [I’m] trying to think up different animals.”
Mr Lancaster knows they aren't everyone's cup of tea but they are selling well online.
“It just made short of $200 just for putting a possum head on a doll's body.”
He is resourceful. Most of the animals are road kill, and many have only a few useable body parts.
“I wanted it to look more devilish so I put those horns on top of its head.”
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