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Art is far too important to be taken seriously

When you see a quote like this on an artist’s website, you know you are in for something, although perhaps just not what that something may be.

Welcome to the slightly macabre world of Kelly McCallum…

A Canadian by birth, Kelly McCallum is currently based in London. She is celebrated for combining her fine goldsmithing skills (focusing on scale and incredible attention to the most minute detailing) with a keen interest in Victorian taxidermy. Her pieces embody her interests in story-telling, natural history, taxidermy, insects, precious metals and other treasures from her carefully curated collection of oddities and natural wonders. And, as you will soon see, her work typically explores dark themes of death, decadence, decay and rebirth as well as challenging perceptions of preservation and disintegration.

According to Kelly, herself, “I am interested in the stories of how things age, how they decay or are preserved, are forgotten, covered in shrouds of grime, only to be found again and given new meanings by our own sentimentality. Taxidermy seeks to preserve life by celebrating death: it is a strange half-live, a suspension, an illusion. Insects on the other hand, through their lives, destroy this illusion: they feed on death, breaking down, demolishing, creating movement from a silent tableau, forcing change and action.”

Kelly McCallum’s work is a bit like a car accident for me… I know I shouldn’t look, but I really want to. What do you think?

Kelly McCallum's General Eenzo Bianchi taxidermy

‘General Eenzo Bianchi’ by Kelly McCallum
(Image © Kelly McCallum)

Kelly McCallum's 'Dutchess Anne Louise Chapman' taxidermy

‘Dutchess Anne Louise Chapman’ by Kelly McCallum
(Image © Kelly McCallum)

Kelly McCallum's 'Contessa isabella Mancini' taxidermy

‘Contessa isabella Mancini’ by Kelly McCallum
(Image © Kelly McCallum)

Kelly McCallum's 'Gyrfalcon' taxidermy

‘Gryfalcon’ by Kelly McCallum
(Image © Kelly McCallum)

Kelly has exhibited in many different countries, including Canada, the United States, France, Korea, The United Kingdom, and Poland, and her work has been displayed at The Victoria and Albert Museum and Liberty of London. I have to admit, I quite like the way her work refuses to fit easily into one category, and challenges assumptions and preconceptions.

And, just because I picked some of the less macabre, and more fantastical, images to show you above, check this one out…

Kelly McCallum's 'Do You Hear What I Hear' taxidermy

‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ by Kelly McCallum
(Image © Kelly McCallum)

Did you have to look twice?

For a more comprehensive selection of Kelly McCallum’s works, you can check out her personal gallery here.