Page last updated at: Wed, 09 May 2012 12:02 PM BST Printable version

Taxidermy popular as new art form

by Elisa Magaldi

Former Chelsea College of Art and Design student Alex Randall has become one of the new names in lighting design, with works for Liberty and Ted Baker in her résumé.

lighting designer alex randallStudying at the University of the Arts London (UAL) has changed the way she used to work as an artist:

“I realise the overall artistic practice that is so crucial to creating great work,” the 29-year-old said.

Form of preservation

“I started writing whilst at Chelsea and when the degree finished I knew I wanted to learn more so I could technically create work that would be professionally of a high standard,” she added.

After working at Liberty in 2008, Ted Baker approached the young designer to create a piece for his Cheapside store. Alex started to work with taxidermy, a technique of preparing, stuffing and mounting the skins of animals for display.

Describing herself as a huge animal lover, she believes that taxidermy is a form of preservation of otherwise wasted carcasses rather than destruction.

“I hadn’t intended on using taxidermy but using Pigeons with individual lights was the perfect solution for the space at an Edwardian street scene,” she said.

Art with potential

“This was before any one else was even considering using taxidermy as art but seemed to me to have such potential.”

“Since then, taxidermy as art has become hugely popular globally and I have installed works as far as New Zealand,” she continues.

Her career as a designer has emerged very naturally from her own work as an artist, the lighting designer said:

“For me, the two things have always existed not only side-by-side but blended together as one.”

“As a child coming from a very creative home I was encouraged to create art whilst also develop my technical skills as a maker. I always had a very fixed idea of this,” she continued.

As well as being a lighting designer, Alex is also a writer. In her studio, she writes ideas on the walls, lined with big white-boards.

She said: “Writing is an integral part of my design practice. It helps me to develop concepts and form an emotional connection to the piece.”

“I see each lamp as a poem; a short, concise story where each word or each mark makes a difference to the overall narrative,” she added.

Alex is currently working on a piece based on the notion of battle.



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