New Zealand-based artist Bruce Mahalski collects animal bones and uses them to assemble creepy yet realistic-looking models of various firearms, including a Colt pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle.
Mahalski started collecting animal bones at a very young age. His parents were both scientists with collections of their own, and traveling all over the world gave them the opportunity to gather some very “interesting stuff”. In the early days of his artistic career, Mahalski experimented with a variety of mediums, from screen-printing, photography, painting and sculpture, but eventually returned to the thing that fascinated him the most – animal bones. In 2005 he created his first bone gun, and by 2010 he had already become an experienced bone artist. Most of Mahalski’s works reflect his interest in firearms and Pacific and African carving styles. They include bones from a variety of animals, birds and fish that the artist sources locally. His latest creation, a life-size AK-47 is made of rabbit, stoat, ferret, sheep, hawk, pheasant, wallaby, snapper, snake, blackbird, tarakihi, hedgehog, broad-billed prion, shear water, thrush, seal ,cat and possum bones, plus a rare bone from a now-extinct moa the artist found in a cave. It was auctioned for $3,500.
“Some people might consider it ghoulish to collect bits of dead animals, but to me it isn’t about death -– it’s about life,” Mahalski writes on his website. “Like a sympathetic magician, I hope that by possessing an animal’s bone a little bit of its life force will rub off onto me.”
Photos by Michael Hall via Mahalski/Facebook