My friend Ben (previously) shot me a link to this article about carved coins called Hobo Nickels. Although the history of carving miniature bas relief sculptures into coins stretches back to the 18th century if not earlier, it was greatly popularized in the early 20th century with the introduction of the Buffalo nickel. This particular coin was minted using soft metal and was imprinted with the portrait of an indian with bold features, making it easier to deface and transform into the portraits of other people, animals, or even scenery. Add to that the idle hands of unemployed artists during the depression (thus, “hobo”) and soon a flood of curious numismatic treasures were born. Most of the images on hobo nickels are too folk artsy for my taste, however a number of artists etched away the flesh of the subject to reveal these awesomely macabre skulls. Hobo nickel carving remains a popular hobby today and it even has a society. Don’t you wish we had actual money that looked like this? Images linked to their sources, most of which are live Ebay auctions. (thnx, ben!)
Behold the breathtaking sculptural work of Canadian artist Maskull Lasserre who deftly extracts the most delicate anatomical forms of humans and animals from common objects. Lasserre was born 1978 in Calgary, Alberta and has lived in South Africa and Ottawa and now works and lives in Montreal. Via his website:
Lasserre’s drawings and sculptures explore the unexpected potential of the everyday and its associated structures of authority, class, and value. Elements of nostalgia, allegory, humor, and the macabre are incorporated into works that induce strangeness in the familiar, and provoke uncertainty in the expected.
His snake skeleton axe entitled Secret Carpentry is one of the most superb sculptural objects I’ve ever seen and don’t miss his work with computer software manuals, newspapers, coat hangers, and tree branches. Lasserre is currently part of a group exhibition at the Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain (PFOAC) in Montreal through August 6, followed by a solo show in the same space starting in November.