Having exploded from the confines of hunting lodges, beer halls, and your creepy uncle Duane’s basement rec room, dead animals that have been stuffed and mounted for decorative purposes are as crazy-cool as, well, a giant box filled with glass eyeballs. Equal parts Norman Bates and self-conscious Brooklyn café, antique taxidermy is no doubt having an extended moment but, depending on whom you ask, is also considered unsettling/offensive/icky.
Despite the occasional nightmare, I personally take no issue with the art of taxidermy itself as I grew up in a certain Pacific Northwest milieu in which the size and type of beast mounted above your hearth was just as important status symbol as the car in your driveway (my family had a banged-up, garage sale-sourced doe and a Chevy minivan). It doesn’t phase me.
For those who desire the rustic-chic hunting trophy “feel” but who don't hunt, shop at Cabela's, and/or can’t bring themselves to purchase a secondhand animal carcass on eBay, there are plenty of non-macabre and design-forward options out there made from materials such as resin, cardboard, papier mâché, felt, wire, cassette tapes, etc.
And then there’s Vienna-based illustrator/graphic designer/jack-of-all-trades Andreas Scheiger. For a new project titled “Upcycle Fetish,” Scheiger has taken salvaged vintage bike parts (handlebars, seats, break levers) and transformed them into clever faux taxidermy heads that, much like the real deal, are mounted and ready to hang on oval wooden plates.
The idea for the Upcycle Fetishes popped up while visiting a bicycle flea market. I started collecting discarded seats, stems and handle bars from dumps, scrap dealers and used bike workshops. I invested in a Bosch router and learned how to mill the mounting plate from wood leftovers. When I was half through the cleaning, milling, screwing and filing I found that Pablo Picasso has had the same idea with his 'cabeza de toro.' But whereas Picasso crafted a piece of art, I wanted my fetishes to serve a purpose. Originally I planned to build bicycle hangers but not all of the stems and handle bars were suited for this. In the end, the result is an array of 'fetish hangers' with each hanger assembled to carry heavy load.
Scheiger has put several of his “Upcycle Fetish” creations up for sale, but it would appear that they’ve quickly, and not surprisingly, sold out. But if you just happen to have the skeleton of an old Peugeot taking up precious space in the garage along with the right tools and desperately need a new coat rack for the den, Scheiger's work could serve as the inspiration for a nice little weekend DIY project.
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