Wendy Simon, a mixed media sculpture artist, says she creates realistic-yet-whimsical cartoon taxidermy animal sculptures to bring joy to others, including herself.
“The light-hearted presence of each character lifts my mood and the family friendly theme is very important to me, as well,” Wendy says. “In this culture with so much heavy emotion and disquiet, my art helps to bring a few moments of joy.”
The Frankfort-based Indiana Artisan uses air dry clay to create framed animal heads. Each one has riveting eyes and flirtatious eyelashes, sports a handmade hat and is decked out in accessories. Every animal is named, and the artist adds a comment about their personality.
Wendy says she doesn’t want her cartoonish trophy mounts to mimic other artists, but being original isn’t exactly her goal either. Instead, she’s inspired by the wonder of “can I really make this idea a reality?”
“I just listen to my own voice and try to be true to what I like,” she says. “Animal art is popular, but I want to make my animal art my way, using my own voice.”
After leaving her administrative assistant job to help her son, who is on the autism spectrum, transition to middle school, Wendy decided to get serious about her art. She discovered air dry clay in 2013 and made her first trophy mount in 2016.
As the artist re-imagines fabric, paper clay, polymer clay, resin, and found objects into characters with personalities of their own, Wendy’s artwork truly becomes a family affair.
“My art wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for my family. Daily and continually, my husband, son, daughter, and her husband all encourage and lend a hand whenever needed,” Wendy says. “I’m privileged to get to do what I do, no doubt.”
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