Aptly named “Gun Hoof” by Iris Schieferstein, an artist, sculptor and “fashion taxidermist” who works with dead animals as raw material for her pieces of art, are causing quite a stir.
She told the Daily Mail: ”I love horses and I love shoes so I thought this would be perfect. Horses have a beautiful walk and I wanted to recreate that with my footwear.”
Schieferstein, who has been doing this for twelve years, does not limit her work to horses. Her controversial work includes doves and snakes (with heads), to name a few. No surprise, Lady Gaga is a fan of these shoes that cost well over $5,000.
The process of creating these shoes is a bit explicit and gruesome. Schieferstein began picking up dead animals on the street but almost went to prison for it because the animals are protected by the government in Germany. Now, she gets the carcasses from her local butcher after they’ve been discarded and admits that creating the shoes is ugly work, in particular removing the meat fromt he carcasses. After that the skin is sent to a tanner for preservation, the shoe is sculpted around a shoe model before hand-stitching insoles and lining.
While these are shoes I wouldn’t wear, I must touch on the fact that people are finding them controversial. I think this is slightly hypocritical. Just like we have no problem picking up a slab of beef or a whole roasted chicken at the grocery store, we have no problem buying shoes, bags and any other leather-goods made from animals like cow, pig, snakeskin, ostrich, lizard, and more. Yet, the second we’re reminded of the animal that our food or shoes came from, it creeps us out. Nobody likes to see the face attached to the body of the animal we have no problem eating or wearing. Ooh, she works with dead animals to create fashion! Shocking! Controversial! Horrible! Well, um… so do the gazillions of other shoe and leather-goods designers out there.
How many of you would carry a snakeskin bag, but would find these offensive just because the snake’s face is included?
Personally, I’m not a fan of these shoes only because I don’t think they’re all that attractive, just like I don’t think a deer head in a living room is all that attractive. Yet before you criticize the artist for her medium of choice, consider the last time you ate a hamburger or what the handbag you’re carrying right now is made out of. That’s all I’m saying.
What do you think of Iris Schieferstein’s taxidermy creations? Pretty or Pretty Ugly?