The Animals as Elements art series started for me, like some of my art as a reaction to another similar art project another artist was doing. In there case, so they were depicting the elements anthropomorphically as humans or human-like animals or as mythical generally human shaped animals.
I thought, hey what if I drew the elements as if they were animals? And so Animals as Elements was born. In the beginning, they started as A5 cards that I used to depict the element and the animal in an abstract or surreal depiction. I never felt that made it real enough. These elements are as real as the animals I am using to relate to them. I want people who see this art to get that relationship between our real world, our abstraction of the real world and the strange world that exists in-between. Eventually, I was led to me depicting each element as related to an animal.
Elements as Animals wasn’t a great name for the series, so I decided to make the series named Animals as Elements.
Within my art, I try to depict connections, as well as the subject. I also try and bring a certain rawness, an unspoken truth of the reality that is faced.
I hope you enjoy each elemental depiction and my reasoning behind each one. This art series has been a work of love and taken me five years to make and will appear as a zine for purchase in due course.
Yours in art,
In their shell
Egg beyond the pain
Yolk of a unknown self
to find the self truth
Balloons on the brain
Lifting me far away
Helping sit in the abstract beyond
Fine, gone, wrong
Am I good for the hen or cock?
Reciprocity motto layers the beast
Always asleep next to me
Never hatching, like me inside this shell
Paper machine in a paper shell
Egg made by the same name as I
Will I hatch?
Will I latch?
Will I merge with the other me?
Scared of what will be
It’s ok for now though this egg is comfy
One day though, all the futures I can see
Self-truth is my me
When the elves started to explore the further reaches of the Faewild they came across Dragons that had never been encountered before. Ones of course that were easier to get on with than the Dragons in their homelands whom had disappeared many eons ago. The elf empress though still remembered the dark times those dragons had brought upon all the elves tribes. So she tasked four tribal lords to take, breed and make them her a Dragons worthy of a empress.
Aily Morning, leader of the Trickle clan donned their magic amour and practiced spells to shield them from a direct contact with a commen Green Rook (Draco Caerules Petrosus) also know as a Welsh Green dragon. They knew this dragon was as dangerous as the ones in their homeland but they still wished to tame them in the hope of breeding a stronger dragon than the other tribes.
Nihonium gets its name from Japan (Nihon) as the naming rights went to the Riken institute in Wakō. It’s a transactinide that has a very short half life of about 10 seconds. It’s isotopes however are slightly more stable and have contributed to the “Island of stability” theory.
Squirrel gliders are a Australian animal, and as much as I wanted to find a Japanese native animal that was as flighty and unpredictable as a squirrel glider I struggled and eventually ended up tying them to Nihonium.
Flerovium is also a heavy transactinide that sits in the Carbon group of elements. It has had a number of chemical experiments that have shown it behaving somewhat like a liquid or gas, rather than a solid.
Giant Tube Worms are much like other Tube Worms only giant. They are actually fairly small creatures comparatively that live under the ocean near volcanic vents. They build up their Tubes over time and may even pass them onto their offspring. They are tied to Flerovium as they live in heavy liquid.
Actinium is the first of the Actinides, a series of 15 similar elements that share similarities. Some are only available when man-made, others occur in nature in stable or semi-stable states. Actinium itself is very radioactive and doesn’t really have much use. It’s matched with Trypanosoma brucei which is one of the parasites that plague humans and other creatures from the Tsetse fly.
Thorium is a slightly radioactive rare earth actinide which most common isotope has a half life close to the age of the universe itself (so pretty much stable). It’s named for Thor the Norse God of thunder, and is used in crucibles, arc lamps, catalytic conversation of ammonia.
Manned Wolf is not a fox nor a wolf. It is in fact it’s own special species of candid. They lack the split eyes of foxes and the double coat of a wolf. They live in South American grasslands and jungles and hunt alone. They use scent markings heavily and are sometimes referred to as a Skunk wolf. Like Thorium they are strange and familiar at the same time.
Francium is the second rarest naturally occurring element. It’s an alkali metal and generally degrades by decay into astatine. It shares many properties with Astatine and caesium and can form similar salts to both. Its instability makes it if little practical use. Francium was discovered in France (hence the name) in the Curie Institute. It originally has the name Eka-caesium.
French hens are a domestic food animal that, may or may not have originated in France. The name has stuck, and so it gets tied with Francium.
Radium is a naturally occurring radioactive element in alloys of Uranium, and very rarely in Calcites. It’s the most infamous application was in watch and clock diles to make them glow in the dark over long periods. This practice led to the horrendous treatment of the Radium Girls, who were instructed to use their mouths to point the paintbrush. This led to radium ingestion, which acts like calcium in the body and deposited into bones eventually causing cancer. It also helped (along with polonium) to cause madam Curies death.
Skates are Rays that are generally smaller in size, they are slippery and able to fit in small spaces. Thus I tied them to the equally slippery Radium.
Thallium is a greyish metal that isn’t usually found free in nature. It has to refine from other metals. It’s highly toxic and was used in rat and insect poisons but has since been banned. It’s still used as a poison by those with nefarious intent. It is now used in some sorts of x-ray imagery in tiny quantities.
Deathwatch beetles will tap and scrape at the inside of old decaying woods, it is their primary food-source. Some say that they were the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell tale heart. They will eat most slightly rotting wood and wood related fugues, and possibly occasionally found their way into untreated or rotting wood floors and even poorly made caskets and scared the “heart” out of more than a few people.
Lead is a heavy, malleable and slightly toxic metal. Its uses have been varied throughout time, including use in currency, armour, weapons, as an alloy and even in primitive medical uses until its toxicity was well known. It is still used in medicine, but almost always as a shield against radiation in x-rays. It also gets used in manufacturing.
American cockroaches are different to European and even what most Australian’s would call cockroaches (generally in Australia its a field cricket). They are exceptionally hardy insects and are generally able to survive fire, floods, and even partial decapitation. This isn’t true of all species of cockroach, so its not recommended you should try it. It is also said they are the only thing that is likely to survive a nuclear winter, should nuclear apocalypse come.
Tantalum is rare transition metal that your almost certainly using now. It’s used in capacitors in almost every modern computing device. This it is one of the metals most prized in the recycling of such devices. It’s not very toxic at low levels but can easily become so in high doses. It’s tied with the Tantulum elgans a sea bound slug that shares a similar name.
Tungsten is a very hard transition metal. It’s used in heating elements, mining and aerospace. It’s getting harder to source and mine and has become rarer in recent years.
Rhinoceros are large megafauna herbivores that are unfortunately endangered. It’s tied to Tungsten as they both have increased rarity and hardness.
Lutetium is the last of the lanthanides. It’s another not so rare “rare-earth” metals. Being almost as common as silver in the earths crust but significantly more difficult to process and thus expensive. It’s main use is in determining the age of other minerals, as its isotopes decays in a very predictable pattern and length that gives it an edge over other isotopes. It’s paired up with Hen Harrier as they both share naming issues, the Hen Harrier called many different names throughout Europe, it’s the same with Lutetium which also had many different names in Europe until recently.
Hafnium is a return to the transition metals, it’s used in computing and neutron capture rods in nuclear reactors. It’s resembles Zirconium and is often mistaken for it.
The danish landrace goat bread out of domesticated and wild goats in Denmark. It is often mistaken for other breeds of goat. It’s tied to Hafnium as they both get mistaken often.
Holmium is a really colorful elements when it’s an alloy or oxide, being able to readily change color under certain lights. It is mostly used in optical products. This is pretty much the reason I paired it with Sea Slugs that have similar color changing attributes.
Erbium is also quite colorful in an alloy. Again mostly used in optical cables and fiber optic signal enhancing. It forms often pink alloys, especially Erbium Chloride, which is intensely pink. This was the reason to pair it with the Flamingo.
Europium is a element that is liquid at room temperatures, and often can look like a silvery metal. It can oxidize fairly easily so care is taking in its handling. It’s used in lasers, lights, CRT monitors, and computing.
The moon jellyfish is a odd little creature that is only about 25-40 cm round when full grown. It’s capable of a small range of movement and can swim to a very small extent. It generally follows currents to feast on plankton. It’s tied to European as its a water creature that likes lukewarm environments.
Gadolinium is a fairly rare, rare earth metal, that has applications in medicine for radiation therapy and as a neutron absorbing elements that can be used in fission nuclear reactors.
Ruddy Shelducks is a duck that has amazingly orange coloured feathers that lives all over Europe and Asia. It’s usually nocturnal and like most ducks is an omnivore. It’s tied to be Gadolinium as when it’s in it’s mineral form as Gadolinite it’s an amazing orange-red colour like the Shelduck.
Praseodymium is a lanthanide with the unusual ability to have a +5 oxidation state. Though it generally is happy with just forming +3 oxides. Pure praseodymium will develop a lovely green shaded +3 oxide on its outside given time. It is one of the most useful lanthanides, used in everything from optics to magnets, lights, construction, catalysts, aircraft engines and even has helped get us the ability to chill things down to within a few thousandths of a degree of zero. It was hiding in plain sight for many years, often being confused with silver due to its very similar lustre and hardness. There is no doubt that some ancient silver vessels probably have some praseodymium in them.
Iguana makes a good match for praseodymium as they both tend to form the same green and tend to hide in plain sight and are surprisingly useful.
“Neodymium will make lovely glass.” As the song goes. Ok maybe only I heard that song. Or made it up? Neodymium is also a non-rare “rare earth metal” being no rarer than no rarer that cobolt, nickle or copper. It is, as you probebly guessed mostly used to make glass in a verity of colors, especially blues and pinks. It is also used in ceramics. The existance of neodymium will possibly help us achive fusion power in years, from its us in high powered lasers.
Crows are where the name Corvid comes from. They are one of the most talented birds, being able to form patterns and predict how things will happen. Some crows have been seen picking up nuts they have cracked using cars on pedestrian crossings. Others have used the same tactics to help kill prey. It’s tied with Neodymium as they are both exceptional.
Lanthanum is a element that has a entire group of 15 similar metallic elements that share similarities to it. The Lanthanides. It’s a very sharing element, giving a +3 electron charge to its shell, it will react with oxygen, the halogens, and most acids. It’s the strongest and hardest base (alkaline) element in its group.
Goats are one of the animals longest domesticated by humans. A very versatile animal, of the bovines, it is able to live in most environments with human assistance. Breading has led to making of goats suited to some of the more hostile environments humans will endure to live in. This versatility has led me to match goats with Lanthanum.
Cerium is a very well used element, though not biologically important it isn’t toxic. Its main use is now in catalytic converters, gas lamps, in TV screens and as a additive in glass. It also may see future use in water splitting and soil state fuel cells. Alloys of cerium have been used in paints to produce both red and blue colors.
The blue mud dauber wasp, is much like other mud dauber wasps only, unsurprisingly, blue. Mud dauber wasps often have a specific prey item, be it spiders, crickets, ants or any number of insects. The blue mud dauber specially hunts the black widow spider. It’s color likely comes from the need to surprise it’s prey. Mud daubers play a very critical part in the environment in keeping insect species in check. Much much cerium keeps many of our fabulous inventions safer.
Iodine is a slightly rare halogen element that is highly reactive and somewhat toxic. Though it is also essential to life, is required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. It is also heavily used in the treatment of endocrine and thyroid cancers and in antiseptic treatments.
The red lionfish is the largest of the lionfish. Its toxin relates it to iodine, as it’s not fatal to humans necessarily. The red lionfish is invasive in the Caribbean and other tropical Atlantic environs. It’s become a major pest in some areas, its capacity to breed quickly and lack of predators makes it particularly hard to control.
One of the most famous Nobel gasses Xenon is actually uncommon in Earths atmosphere. It’s mostly used in lighting, lasers and as a propellant in ion thrusters.
Geese are one of the largest birds species. Most are capable of flight and are migratory, though there are a few exceptions. There used to be giant flightless geese, most are now extinct. It is connected to Xenon by its flight and slightly uncommon nature.
Yellowhead catfish (Tachysurus fulvidraco) also known as the Korean Bullhead can be found throughout most of northern Asia. It’s not to be confused with the American Yellow Bullhead. The former being a scaled bagrid catfish.
Antimony is a silver colored metal that behaves very much like lead and phosphorus though it is less explosive and as a used as a halogen as a fire retardant. It’s also used in the production of batteries, soldiers and bearings. It’s connection to the Yellowhead catfish is to do with the local of its main source, being mostly found in China and Korea.
Latrodectus tredecimguttatus is a spider that is related to the Black Widow and the infamous Red Bellied Spider. Though its main place of home is in the Mediterranean coastal grasslands and forested area in Europe. It’s name literally means of thirteen spots, and has 13 red, white or orange spots on its body.
Tellurium is a silvery metalloid that can be somewhat toxic. Mostly used for copper and steel alloys and the production of solar panels. It’s now in far higher demand than ever and as it is a rare metal its likely to become even rarer. It’s relation Latrodectus tredecimguttatus is through its relative rarity and usefulness, but mild toxicity.
Indium is fairly toxic but very useful element whose main use is in LCD monitors and similar screens such as those used in mobile devices, TVs, and other liquid crystal displays. It’s also used in bearings and vacuums tube chambers. The glowworm is similar to Indium in that it’s glowing effect comes from its food (so electricity and crystal bonds in Indium case) to produce photosynthesis. Though most glowworms are omnivores, a few are carnivores, using their colonies of glowing bacteria in their rear to attract moths and insects to a long thread of silk like a spiders web, then eating it at their leisure.
Tin is a useful binding metal that has been used for centuries. Its widespread use has mostly been applied in making Pewter and in Solder. It’s fairly non toxic and has one of the most numbers of isotopes of any metal. Vipera Latiffi is a viper that lives exclusively in Iran, and it’s associated with Tin as its highly likely the Tin was discovered and first used near its native range.
Silver is an uncommon metal element that is mostly used decoratively and in jewellery. Though it is used in solar panels, water filtration, circuitry, and in radio and radar technologies. It has the lowest contact resistance and highest electrical conductivity of any known metal, and its applications are getting more widespread within the computer electronics and electric generation industries.
Foxes are a versatile candid like animal, though some are more closely related to voles than dogs they are my favourite creature bar none. The common phrase “a silver fox” is pretty much all it took to get its association with this element but I’m sure you can find plenty more.
The Golden Eagle is a common bird of prey that lives all round the northern hemisphere. It’s much like Cadmium in its commonality. It preys small rodents, occasionally other birds and carrion.
Cadmium is often a byproduct of the zinc refining process and is used in glass plating and used to be used in batteries. Cadmium is somewhat toxic and has some long-lived isotopes and can be bio reactive causing damage to cells and cancer in fallout post-nuclear bombs or meltdowns.
Rhodium is a rare earth metal that is often used to keep various other more volatile silver colored metals from corrosion. It also plays a part in catalytic converters in cars and other petroleum based engineers. It’s also used to measure Neutron Flux in nuclear power plants.
The Beewolf is a wasp species that specifically feeds or lays it’s eggs specifically in bees. It’s hunting is not very much like the wolf, mostly being a solitary wasp. It’s similarity to rhodium is mostly in this behaviour to be a loner, rhodium doesn’t really react and is very none corrosive.
Palladium is similar in its use in catalytic converters. It’s also a metal with heavy investment stock and interest in capture by recycling. It is the first part of a car to be recycled due to its rarity.
The Horse is another animal that attracts heavy investment an attention. Almost completely domesticated, the horse is now bred to race but it used to be humman’s main beast of burden. Though often bred selectivity for multiple purposes. Like Palladium they are a considerable resource that we may not treat in the most humane way at times.
Cobalt (as a oxide) is a metal that is often used in tinting glass jewellery and other products to make a brilliant blue color. Often mistaken as the result of bismuth by early chemists and alchemists. I chose the to depict it as a Macaw as its bright blue is so much like that produced by cobalt oxide.
Nickel is a metal often used as an alloy or a plating for more corrosive metals. Usually, as destructive oxidation is less likely to affect it. It’s also often referred to as “old nick” in German miner slang to its resistance when coupled with copper, and thus a “devil” to refine and spot. Nickel is also one of the most widely used elements for implants, though often in an alloy with Aluminium, Titanium and Osmium and until recently Lead (which stopped due to leads high toxicity). Its use in dental fillings is extraordinarily widespread, as a mixture is enlarged, especially so. An enlargement of something is often called a proboscis in biology although many invertebrates and vertebrates have such feature the renowned “naughty” nature of the Proboscis monkey led me to depict them as Nickel.
Manganese is a strong element that helps with muscle growth. It is a trace element in many vegetables and plants often consumed by herbivores in their food, and Carnivora from the herbivores they eat. Rhinoceros is a animal renouned for its strength and it’s rather brustish way of keeping itself safe using its brute strength and it’s hard horn. Much like the behavior of manganese if it’s misused.
Iron is one of the most important and used elements in the world. Used in most large construction projects, transport projects and in many household items. It wide use and strength led me to draw it as mouse. Mice are a very widely spread animal, on every continent (except Antarctica). They have the ability too breed very quickly and eat everything in sight in the right conditions. Their strength in numbers makes up for their small size and are very worthy of being the representative of iron.
Vanadium and chromium are a set of a pair in a way. They both produce colourful salts. But vanadium tends to be a bit more uniform, and thus I chose to use the mayfly as it’s animal. They come in all sorts of colours and sizes and often live short lives. Chromium has even more different salts and is commonly used in paint, stains, tanning, plating and many other uses. The mantis shrimp is one of the most curious creatures in the ocean. It has eyes that pick up colours well beyond the red, green, yellow and blue we can perceive. They can also produce an almost bullet-like snap with their claws that they use to stun their prey.
Scandium is a rare earth element mostly used in alloys of aluminum. It’s depiction as polar bear is pretty much a pun with a little bit of the fact that polar bears are getting rarer.
Wombats are the Titanium of the marsupials. They are tough heavy and very strong. Wombats are somewhat rodent like eating roots, grasses and have similar teeth to rodants. In Australia they are can be involved in road accidents, often causeing significant damage to vehicles involved. They are a covergant evolutionary species. Titanium is very like them in being a adaptable, strong and hard metal.
As some of you who follow this blog for a long time I intersect my poetry often with my artwork. This has led me to decide to start my first Virtual exhibition of my physical artwork. Although I also dabble in my virtual artwork a lot of that is concentrated on getting art done for my comic. Which also helps me in bringing my narrative skills to bear.
So to help bring the two together in a new way I will be creating a virtual exhibition of my Animals As Elements series of physical art. Each will come with a artists statement of how the art came into being, why that particular animal was chosen and sometimes a poem. This will of course take some time so I plan to realese them about weekly. Thankfully the art is well ahead of the other parts of this process.
Hope you enjoy.
Yours in creativity,