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Dead things make lively art – slide show

Dead things don’t always belong in a grave. They make some fantastic art.

Dead thing in a chair/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski
Dead thing made from cow bones sitting in a backyard chair/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

We’re not talking about art that simply depicts dead things, like Georgia O’Keeffe’s skull-happy paintings or a rendition of the suicidal Marat slumped lifeless in his bathtub.

We’re talking about actual parts, pieces or entire skeletons of dead things.

No home is artistically complete without at least one skull, spinal column or stuffed raccoon.

My brother once had a femur hanging from his kitchen ceiling.

Dead things work well au natural, or you can paint, decorate or draw on them to further enhance their beauty.

You can also assemble them into striking wall hangings or figures sitting stately on a discarded rusty chair you found in the Rillito riverbed.

Unless you moonlight as a mortician or have a penchant for raiding cemeteries, it’s best to use dead animals rather than people in your dead thing art collection. It’s also best to find them dead rather than killing them just to make a wall hanging.

Art made from dead people is best left to professional exhibits, like the one coming to Tucson. Sure, “Bodies…The Exhibition” is billed as a scientific display. But I saw the similar traveling show “Our Body: The Universe Within” in Detroit and it didn’t fool me.

More cow bone art/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski
More cow bone art/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

The body display is an art gallery full of dead people. One was riding a bike, another was waiting for a bus, a third was reading the newspaper. I don’t think it was the Tucson Citizen.

One dead man’s muscle tissues were cut, spread and frozen in place as if he were sporting wings and about to go flying through the science center. A bright red circulatory system hung sweetly behind glass, looking eerily similar to a jazzy disco jumper.

Of course, there are some caveats when using dead things as art. Please make sure all the fleshy parts are picked clean so you’re house doesn’t end up reeking. Also refrain from using organs, brains or other materials that are prone to rot.

And the biggest warning of all – keep dead thing art up high, far away from your dogs.

Enjoy the slide show featuring some dead thing art in and around my Tucson home (except for the worm which was photographed in Michigan).



logoWhat do you think?

Do you have any dead thing art in your own home or office?

Will you be going to the dead people art display when it comes to Tucson next month?


What do you think?

0 thoughts on “Dead things make lively art – slide show

  1. Hi, Ryn.  The “dark skull” is actually a pelvis; probably from a steer from the looks of it.  I’m looking forward to the “Bodies” exhibition.  Based on the comments in the ADS, I’m hoping for some controversy; perhaps even some protests. 

    1. hiya leftfield,
      now i love the dark skull even more! thanks for expert insight. “dark pelvis” sounds even more enticing, actually.
      controversy over the dead people as art exhibit? get outta here! this is fine art at its finest. the similar exhibit i saw in detroit was phenomenal! you will definitely enjoy it.
      protests would indeed be fun, so i’ll hope along with you.

  2. When I die, I will leave my bones to you so I can live on and on…maybe turn me into rynchimes?!!?

    You are an interesting woman, Ryn. I don’t have any dead stuff in my house…that I know of! lol

    1. hahahhah! oh, azmouse, what an honor! thank you! i promise to put you up high where the dogs won’t reach. rynchimes are def an option! hahahah.

      i would recommend trying at least one skull in your home to see what a fine dimension it adds. it doesn’t have to be gross – plenty of places sell skulls and such that are cleaned and ready for display. the big one in my living room came from fourth ave street fair, in fact.
      like the skulls scholars used to place on their desks, dead things help remind us of our own mortality and the dire need to carpe diem! seize the day, live in the moment and make each day a celebration.

      1. Well I definitely like your reasoning on why you like bones and I want each day to be a celebration too!

        I would be willing to donate both femurs…one for each dog, then you can have the rest of me. Do me justice!

        1. you got it!!! thanks! hahaha. your justice will be served for sure!
          yes, each day needs to be a celebration, although even with all the bones in my home i can easily forget this fact and get all cranky.
          carpe diem!

    2. “When I die, I will leave my bones to you so I can live on and on…maybe turn me into rynchimes?!!?”

      Brings to mind John Prine’s “Please don’t bury me”.  Here’s the chorus:
           Please don’t bury me
           Down in that cold cold ground
           No, I’d druther have “em” cut me up
           And pass me all around
           Throw my brain in a hurricane
           And the blind can have my eyes
           And the deaf can take both of my ears
           If they don’t mind the size
           Give my stomach to Milwaukee
           If they run out of beer
           Put my socks in a cedar box
           Just get “em” out of here
           Venus de Milo can have my arms
           Look out! I’ve got your nose
           Sell my heart to the junkman
           And give my love to Rose

      1. Those are crazy lyrics!

      2. koreyk – i love it!!!! thanks for sharing that glorious song.
        i recall a poem or two along the same lines, although cannot think of poets/titles offhand. very cool.

  3. Cool artwork Rynski, I especially like the evil, anguished cow bone guy.
    Does he reside at your kitchen table? 🙂
    While there are many uses for the dead; fertilizer, gelatin, body parts, etc…your art is far and away the most creative I have seen.
    Now if you could only incorporate those damn mosquito hawks some how… 😉  What the heck is the purpose of those bombers anyway?

    1. thanks, radmax! i was actually wanting to put the anguished cow bone guy at my kitchen table but my house is kinda cramped. besides, sawyer already had a run-in with the life-size metal winged demon on a tricycle when he ended up caught in it and then ran through the house with it attached to his back.
      i’ll put on my thinking cap for fake mosquito art! you’ll get the first piece – hahahha.

  4. well the question on why your kitty keeps bring you dead thing its because it loves you…Its saying look mom look what i got you …..Just pet him make him feel good and when he,s not loooking toss it away…My cats brought 1 dead ferret……and alot of old stiff dead frogs i find in my laundry….geeeeess.Janet from Ottawa

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