Artist Kerry Eggleton creates vibrant and characterful anthropomorphic animals. Anthropomorphism has ancient roots as a literary device in storytelling, and also in art. Most cultures have traditional fables with anthropomorphised animals, which can stand and talk like humans, as characters. One of the oldest known examples is the Lion man, a human-shaped figurine with a lion’s head carved from a mammoth tusk, estimated to be 40,000 years old. Intrigued by these hybrid forms which resonate throughout history and across cultures; Kerry has created contemporary characters in the style of a Victorian engraving, harking back to the golden age of the British circus.
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The Creative Process
Kerry starts out with a character style in mind and scours charity shops or borrows/hires the clothing required. She then photographs a model wearing these in various stances appropriate to the character, which start to bring it to life.
Kerry then digitally manipulates these photographs together with animal imagery and once she is happy with her creation (this can take a while), she splits the image into separate colour layers. She then manually develops each image onto screens using light sensitive emulsion and an exposure unit. The process is similar to developing a photograph, but working with positives rather than negatives. Once the screens are ready, Kerry carefully mixes each ink colour by hand and hand-pulls it through the individual screens, layer by layer, to recreate the images manually.
The screen-printing process can be hard work, as each of her colour pieces requires at least 20 pulls and plenty of elbow grease to keep washing out the multiple screens, but it yields incredibly satisfying results. Through this process Kerry transforms the initial precision of the digital image into a vibrant piece of art with wonderful ink density. As the prints are lovingly hand created, each is unique (although part of an edition), offering more charm and individuality than digitally created prints; making them more prized and collectable artworks as a result.