Fiend or Faux
You feel a prickling on the back of your neck, the opulence combined with a hearty dose of punk
uneasy feeling of something … staring. You turn, rock and circus sideshow iconography.
expecting to look into the face of some ghastly Interested in, but not feeling good about real
nightmare apparition. You start to scream, except taxidermy herself, McGrath’s current “taxidermy” is
this creature is wearing a bow tie, a nurse’s hat, entirely fake (no real fur). She clarifies, “I don’t think
and a red bandit mask over big eyes surrounded differently of anyone who collects real taxidermy,
by outrageously long lashes. It’s also mounted on but I’m personally not into an animal being killed
a wooden plaque that announces its name in to be a trophy.”
vaudevillian lettering, La Volpe While she originally used fur coats and leather
Created by L.A. artist Liz McGrath, this creepy jackets bought from thrift stores, she now uses
critter is from her series of “faux taxidermy.” homespun techniques of making fake fur look
Starting with a taxidermy form (or a homemade more realistic with the use of tar, airbrushing, and
armature), she covers it with Magic Sculpt or resin hairspray. All the better to have all of the weird with
epoxy to flesh out the form and create features. none of the guilt.
Photography by Liz McGrath
She uses Sculpey for some of the smaller details she McGrath shows her enormously popular work
meticulously sculpts by hand. She then adds glass regularly at Billy Shire Fine Arts in Los Angeles and
taxidermy eyes and paints the skin details, often recently released a book of her work called Every-
using glazes of luminous sepulchral tones. thing That Creeps.
The piece is finished with whiskers, spidery eye-lashes, and a handmade costume and mounting
plaque, usually a stitched-together mix of Beatrix >>Liz McGrath: elizabethmcgrath.com