Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Fascination with Life and Death Leads to Roadkill Art; from Bones to Balls of Snakeskin

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Fascination with Life and Death Leads to Roadkill Art; from Bones to Balls of Snakeskin

Article excerpt

Byline: Nikki Todd nikki.todd@tweeddailynews.com.au

THEY say one man's junk is another man's treasure.

Such is the case for Uki artist Christine Mellor, whose fascination with life and death -- and more specifically roadkill -- has led her down an unusual path.

Ms Mellor's artwork involves using selected parts of native roadkill, which she arranges as subjects in paintings and as small objects.

"It all started off by following my dream to do something arty when I went to TAFE to study art," Ms Mellor said.

"When I was there, they made us dig a bit deeper, we had to find something we wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about life -- it's such a huge subject -- and I had always been a collector of everything, something I continue to this day.

"The death of animals in roadkill seemed like an accessible way to talk about life and death: if I could work with roadkill, I could talk about it."

And so began Ms Mellor's obsession with roadkill: from tiny birds to snakes, bats, large kangaroos and everything in between.

"I see roadkill as a metaphor for life and pre-life," Ms Mellor said.

"It shows these little animals going about their business and then suddenly their life is finished. Our time on this planet is just a 'bling'. We have to make the most of every minute.

"With my artwork, at least I can turn the death of that animal into something beautiful and not so final or pointless. If I find it, I'll put it to good use, with respect."

To collect the roadkill, which she does with the help of family and friends, Ms Mellor has had to get a licence from the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service, which necessitates she date and specify where each animal is found.

Some fascinating examples of her work include a polystyrene ball wrapped in delicate snake-skin; spiky flowers made from echidna spines and gorgeous, colourful flowers made from the feathers of little birds. …

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