The Dystopian Taxidermy Duo Giving Instagram the Creeps
Mothmeister is a popular Belgian duo that creates eerie anthropomorphic beings using taxidermy. Here, the artists walk us through how they do it.
“We have a weak spot for the misfits. The shabby ones. Because they add so much more soul than perfect, gracious-looking animals,” says Mothmeister.
The Belgian duo has amassed a large Instagram following (287K and counting) posting their eerie, otherworldly creations—macabre figures, made via taxidermy, vintage masks, and secondhand Victorian costumes. They were inspired by the work of Walter Potter, an English taxidermist specializing in dioramas, and aim to create “fairy-tale-like storytelling” that disturbs and enthralls.
Mothmeister’s new book, Mothmeister: Dark and Dystopian Post-Mortem Fairy Tales, is available now from Lannoo Publishers, and saw the artists travel around to abandoned areas like Pyramiden or the disaster zone around Chernobyl.
“Our muse can be anything,” says Mothmeister. “The tragedy of Chernobyl. Legendary figures like the Butcher of Plainfield or the notorious crook Big Nose George. A stuffed velvet monkey with a bad hair day. A rusty prosthetic leg. An authentic shrunken head or freak show postcard. Or an artist we come across.”
They consider themselves “manic treasure hunters” who’ve amassed everything from “a pink boudoir lamp shade, stainless steel butcher gloves to coconut bark from a garden center.” Fans even send them rare items, like a dried pig head with Russian prison tattoos covering its face, courtesy of someone in Canada.
And the old costumes can get, well, a bit stinky.
“Luckily, we shoot outdoors, cause the smell is even more pungent than a bloated dead whale. But hey, they look great,” jokes Mothmeister.
Check out an exclusive selection of images from the book Mothmeister: Dark and Dystopian Post-Mortem Fairy Tales: