Facial hypertrichosis (1970) by Tony Fomison. Oil on canvas. Private collection.
Art and monsters are two of my all-time favorite things, so I’m in (weird, twisted) heaven when the two things combine. A strange, hairy beast lurks inside the soul of New Zealand artist Tony Fomison – head over to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa blog to read my full post about his remarkable paintings of hairy beasts.
What does your inner monster look like? For New Zealand painter Tony Fomison (1939–1990) it was a creature drenched in darkness, his face covered in wolfish hair. Art curator Chelsea Nichols explains more.
Tipu’s (or Tippoo’s) Tiger is a life-sized wooden mechanical organ made around 1793, depicting a tiger mauling a man in European clothing. When the crank is turned, a hidden mechanism causes the man’s arm to goes up and down, and plays his wails of agony along the growls of the tiger. Under a flap on the tiger’s body there is also a small pipe organ, which can play 18 notes. Continue reading →
Alphonse Bertillon was a French police officer and biometrics researcher who was responsible for standardizing the modern mug shot. (Fun fact: the profile shot was included because Bertillon thought our ear shape might become a unique identifier, in the days before fingerprinting). This freaking adorable mug shot features his two-year old son François Bertillon, a hardened criminal who was caught nibbling all the pears from a basket on 17 October 1893. Continue reading →
Illustration of a cat-organ, from La Nature (1883). Image via Messy Beast.
When I was a kid, my weird and wonderful mother used to amuse us by picking up the cat and pretending to play it like a bagpipe, using its tail as a mouthpiece. Her improvised feline instrument has, sadly, been upstaged by my discovery of the Katzenklavier, a Cat-Piano (also known as a cat organ) dreamed up in the 16th century. Continue reading →