Midweek Muse – Julie Heffernan

Julie Heffernan is an American painter who specializes in magnificent self-portraits wearing naturalist skirts overflowing with flora and fauna. Combining the historic styles of Baroque aristocratic portraits and vanitas paintings, Heffernan creates a surreal yet believable fantasy world that encompasses a dark sensuality with political undertones.

See more of Julie’s work on her official website.

Midweek Muse – Walter Potter

Walter Potter was a renowned anthropomorphic taxidermy artist from England who became an icon in the late 1880s for his whimsical dioramas of kitten weddings, squirrel gambling, and bunny schoolhouses.

What I find most inspiring about Walter Potter was his intense dedication to the love of his self-taught craft. He didn’t allow his lack of professional expertise stunt his creative expression. His taxidermy craftsmanship and knowledge of animal anatomy wasn’t especially refined, but he let his imagination run wild and worked diligently at what he loved from the time he was 19 until his death at 83, leaving behind a museum full of over 10,000 specimen and an unforgettable legacy for rouge taxidermists and oddities enthusiasts alike.

There is so much more to be said about Potter’s work, so please read up at Ravishing Beasts and be sure to check out the brand new book, Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy, just released by Dr. Pat Morris and Joanna Ebenstein of Morbid Anatomy.

Midweek Muse – Hideki Tokushige

Hideki Tokushige is a Japanese artist who uses the skeletal remains of mice to create beautifully intricate lace-like sculptural flower arrangements in his project Honebana (Bone Flower). After painstakingly crafting and photographing these bone botanicals, Tokushige breaks them down and buries them in the soil in an “attempt to synchronize with nature.”

“We don’t come in contact with bones anymore. And yet we all will one day become bones and return to the earth. Perhaps by returning to a fundamental state of mind and contemplating bones we can learn something about ourselves.”

See more of Hideki’s works at honebana.com

Midweek Muse – Brendon Burton

Brendon Burton is a remarkably talented young photographer from Oregon who specializes in creative, surrealist portraiture. Last year, at the mere age of 18, Brendon’s work for his 365 project was already acknowledged by Huffington Post, Photojojo, PetaPixel, and other notable publications. Seriously impressive for someone who only started taking photos 3 years ago…

I come across handfuls of 365 self-portrait artists on Flickr who – although undeniably talented – typically create the same types of work: levitation manips, objects hanging from string, and the like. While Brendon exhibited a few of these rehashed concepts in his earlier experimentations, he really began developing his own unique style late last year and this transformation from unbridled talent to refined conceptual photographer in just a single year is incredibly inspiring. His work is dark and thought-provoking, etherial and haunting. Just a quick browse through his Flickr stream provokes an intense urge within me to get in front of my camera again, making his work truly muse-worthy.

See more of Brendon’s work at www.brendonburton.com or browse his Flickr stream.

Midweek Muse – Peter Carrington

Peter Carrington is a Manchester-based illustrator who blends his interest in science and geometry with natural history and vintage zoological etchings. His work originated from his struggle with dyslexia and his desire to gain knowledge in the aforementioned subjects despite his academic challenges. Accepting that he would never be able to excel in these studies, Peter seeks “to create a visual language of [his] own.”

“I create seemingly scientific drawings, prompting viewers to read them in such a way as to gain knowledge…. These decontextualised images will be viewed in a new light.”

See more of Peter’s work at petercarrington.co.uk