Barcelona-born artist and designer Maryjane Claverol is making Miami all the more colorful by bringing a unique aesthetic to the newly minted Leah Arts District. Uniting traditionally divergent art forms, her work mixes fashion and taxidermy to give new life to displaced specimens.
Designing accessories for brands such as Zara and Burberry, Claverol has traveled the world to lend her talents, but it was her time in India that set her on a new creative path.
"I started to explore different sectors and pursue something more artistic by departing from the foundation of creating what people are used to seeing,” Claverol says.
Not a taxidermist herself, Claverol began her decorating experiments on crabs and mollusks because they aren't particularly alluring in their natural state. She augmented their appearance using atypical colors and Swarovski crystals. The work progressed to a collection of scorpions reinvented in hues of green, blue, orange, and red and ornamented with assorted gems and ceramic flowers. Then came a crocodile skull with similar applications.
“By applying a palette that is very ‘in’ and materials that are well liked, you can achieve an animal that is very pleasing. It takes something that inspires rejection or fear and turns it on its head,” Claverol says of her work.
Her choice of animals is both technical and emotional. A dried crab provides a versatile work surface for virtually any type of paint or adornment, but other critters are more challenging. Just recently, Claverol began working with tarantulas, creatures she finds repulsive and worked up the courage to handle.
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Though some may think differently, Claverol feels for the specimens that line the walls of her gallery. “I think it's a shame for animals to die for no reason,” she explains. "Working with animals that are ugly, dead, and without use is like giving them a second life. Every type of animal deserves to have a second life, and that's why I rescue them, the pretty and the ugly ones.”
This was the case for “Mrs. Zebra,” a discarded taxidermied zebra head that Claverol found in an old warehouse and reclaimed with a simple application of pink hair dye. Proclaimed to be Claverol's favorite work to date, Mrs. Zebra is now the centerpiece of Universe Maryjane Claverol, the artist's forthcoming studio.