OF CUNNINGLY SCAVENGED TOOTH AND BONE


Photography and Visual Art



SELF-PORTRAIT WORK


  • PLEASE NOTE: A selected portfolio will be added to this website shortly; meanwhile, you can view Vanessa's work on Instagram. Selected prints are also available in the shop.

    Building on her background in wildlife photography and mixed-media collage, Vanessa's current visual art projects see her stepping in front of the camera, using herself as her subject and her body as her canvas, which she adorns with elements from her garden and curio collection. She weaves her dark tales through various visual styles, ranging from surreal Victorian-inspired storybook tableaux to high-fashion bone art nods to the costuming traditions of her Germanic ancestors. She works alone with a Nikon DSRL camera, and handles all aspects of her craft, from prop- and set-building, to makeup and wardrobe. Her gothic glamour aesthetic celebrates her own physical transformation and challenges conventional beauty portraiture by evoking the darker aspects of sensuality and desire.

    Vanessa was born with a spinal defect and subsequently spent most of her life strapped into a back brace, letting her condition define who she was. In recent years, she embarked on a journey to mental and physical wellness, and embraced bodybuilding as a final (and, thankfully, successful) attempt to rid herself of chronic, debilitating pain. To make peace with her past self, she is revisiting the body of musical work that she created while her physical body was broken, and is now breathing new life into her lyrics as fine art self-portraits. Pain influenced every aspect of her songwriting for nearly three decades—from the subject matter to how she handled each instrument to accommodate her deformity. A body that was once cause for embarrassment and frustration is now a source of inspiration and power.





NOTES ON SKULL COLLECTING

Although Vanessa's work focusses heavily on the endless cycle of of life, death and rebirth, being a lifelong pagan and wildlife advocate, no living creatures have ever been harmed for the sake of her art. All skulls, feathers, taxidermy and other specimens in her collection are treated with the utmost reverence. They are non-CITES, non-SARA and non-MBCA species, and were ethically and sustainably obtained through reputable, cruelty-free and trusted sources. Any songbirds featured in her work are cardboard printouts.

Conservation and awareness are crucial to preserving wildlife and wild places; therefore, if Vanessa's work has inspired you to begin your own collection, it is your duty as a responsible collector to educate yourself on the legal requirements applicable to your country or location of residence. For example, in North America, it is illegal for the general public to possess live native songbirds, corvids or raptors, or their remains (taxidermy, bones, skulls or feathers).

CONTACT INFORMATION

PLEASE NOTE: Vanessa does not read or respond to sales-pitch emails or private messages on social media. She is not available for commissioned work, concert bookings or studio sessions at this time. hello@vanessalaurin.com.

For inquiries about the shop, write to shop@vanessalaurin.com.

All contents © copyright 1999-2020 Vanessa Laurin