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Artist Carves Animal Skulls into Intricate Works of Art

American artist Jason Borders uses a simple Dremel rotary tool to turn creepy animal skulls into intricate works of art that sell for hundreds of dollars.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Borders always had an interest in bones and started collecting them at a very young age. “I always had a little cabinet of curiosities in my room, and in the garage,” he says, but he didn’t start using them as a medium for his art until much later in his life. He always an artistic streak and used to take art classes at the Lexington Art League in his spare time. He later attended the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, but only worked with traditional materials like clay and paper. That was until a few years ago when he discovered an elk carcass while driving through the desert.

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Self-Taught Artist Builds Macabre Life-Size Motorcycles Out of Animal Bones

Would you spend $55,000 on a motorcycle that doesn’t run? Before you make a decision on that, here’s what you need to know – the motorcycle in question is actually made of animal bones. A Florida man created the beast using a lot of pieces from other dead beasts – three to four cow skulls, two to three alligator skulls, bones of goats, wolves, raccoons, turtles and pigs, and a cow spine for each of the wheels. The bike is rather cheekily named: ‘Cowasaki’.

Reese Moore, the bike’s creator, said it takes him about a year to collect all the bones from dead animals on the side of the road, or carcasses from hunters and farmers. It then takes him a week to sand the bones down and but the bike together. It’s not just bikes – the 65-year-old also makes a host of other things with the bones, including dinosaurs and choppers. And when he isn’t doing that, he trains whales and sea lions, builds museum exhibits and performs in Timucuan Indian re-enactments. He was also a snake wrangler at one point.

“I don’t do anything normal,” Moore observed. “I just go around and show off and make weird stuff.” He got into the bones business after using them to make Halloween decorations for his kids sometime in the early 1990s. That year, he made a dinosaur out of an assortment of bones for his sons. When the owner of Froggy’s Saloon asked him if he could take the model, Moore had a better idea. “I was kidding, and I said, ‘I’ll build you a motorcycle for Bike Week.’” The bar-owner said it couldn’t be done and Moore accepted the challenge. “In about three or four days I called him up and told him he could pick up his motorcycle.”

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Honebana – The Detailed Animal Bone Flowers of Hideki Tokushige

Excavated Neanderthal bones often had traces of pollen around them, indicating that even back then flowers were used to celebrate the deceased. Japanese artist Hideki Tokushige uses animal bones to recreate various flowers, thus honoring the longstanding connection between the two.

“We’ve been creating paintings and sculptures for over 70,000 years and our relationship to bones is just as old,” Tokushige explains. “Everything around us – clothes, nuclear power plants, internet – can be traced back to the structure of bones.” Inspired by the cycle of life and death and the relationship between flowers and death, the Japanese artist started creating stunningly detailed Honebana, or bone flowers. It all started one day, when Hideki Tokushige was coming home from work. He saw a dead raccoon in the middle of the street, and instead of simply ignoring it or throwing it in a waste bin, he took it home, removed the bones and used them as an art medium. Originally trained in photography, Hideki found a way to assemble the bones into intricate floral sculptures that are shockingly beautiful to look at.

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Artist Creates Creepy Firearm Models from Animal Bones

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.

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Extinct Bird Sculptures Made from Leftover Bones

Christy Rupp, an artist based in Chelsea, has created skeletons of extinct birds with the help of chicken bones that she collected over a period of time. Rupp describes herself as an ecological artist. She’s put up the sculptures for display at a museum called the “Extinct Birds Previously Consumed by Humans.” Her goal is to draw attention to the number of species we humans have driven to extinction.

“In our lifetime, more things have gone extinct than in all of the time before us,” she said. Rupp is a vegetarian, and collecting chicken bones wasn’t easy for her. She started by rummaging through garbage cans at parties and barbecues. She would literally wait for people to throw out food, and sometimes get kids to help her too. Sometimes, she would wait for her friends to finish their meal, asking for the carcass as soon as they were done. She even went as far as putting an ad in a local circulation, asking people to save bones for her.

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