The Art of Reclamation: Nature Captures You, Through the Art of Christopher Marley

RECLAMATION [rek-luh-mey-shuhn] (n): The recovery of useful substances from waste products; the act of regaining or saving something lost (or in danger of becoming lost)

Artist Christopher Marley believes that art serves a number of inspired and inspiring purposes: to heighten our appreciation of beauty; to identify with the natural life systems into which we come in contact; to derive pleasure or excitement from our interaction with artistically arranged elements.

Marley, a designer and naturalist as well as artist, has created a way to reclaim nature and its aesthetic by means of once-living works of art. He creates extraordinary pieces that incorporate birds, insects, reptiles, sea creatures, and botanicals that are breathtaking in both their beauty and vitality.

When once-living organisms are seen from a strictly aesthetic point of view, it awakens in them—and brings out for the viewer—facets of design that may not be apparent when seen in the context of a live creature’s movements, habits, and disposition. Marley’s detailed processes draw out in the subject details such as its color, texture, pattern, and structure.

One of his most popular and detailed subject types, insects, represent the embodiment of sleek, minimalist, architectural design. Perhaps surprisingly, responsible insect collecting is an effective tool in the fight to preserve insect populations. And because the process is laborious, methodical, and relatively slow, each captured insect is an appreciated acquisition.

No living organisms are harmed in the creation of Christopher Marley’s work: Utilizing a vast network of zoos, museums, and wildlife breeders, his masterpieces of once-living artifacts preserve these specimens, creating stunning, karma-free artwork. Every original Marley piece has died of natural or incidental causes. Most of the wildlife was bred in captivity by recognized and reputable husbandry institutions.

The artist personally shapes each specimen before employing state of the art, proprietary methods of preservation. Each finished piece is a tribute to organisms that inspire and thrill as only nature can.

“Everything I do in my work has either an environmentally advantageous or at least neutral effect… My birds, fish, and reptiles all die of natural causes and are sent to me for preservation by the individuals and institutions that work with them as an alternative to disposing of them. I feel – and I hope my patrons do too – that my work is a vastly superior alternative to rotting away in a landfill.” — Christopher Marley

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