Meet Lauren Wilde, of Wilde Animals.
How would you describe your style?
I create Wilde Animals, which are realistic animal head sculptures made from all vegan materials that add a thoughtful charm to any wall. I choose to create animals that are endangered or vulnerable species to raise awareness and education for these animals and their habitats. 15% of every animal head purchase is donated to an organization specifically helping that animal. Wilde Animals partners with some amazing organizations doing great things for endangered animals all over the world. I hand make every single Wilde Animal head. I sculpt each animal once and create a durable mold. Then I can run the materials through the mold as many times as I need and paint each new head.
What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?
There's lots of great and creative faux taxidermy out there. What makes Wilde Animals unique is our commitment to realism - I believe that something amazing and powerful happens when we see these animals as they really are, both in terms of us understanding their beauty and importance as well as realizing how unacceptable it is that they might soon be extinct from our earth. My hope is that through this realism all who see a Wilde Animal connect with these endangered and vulnerable species in hopes of raising awareness for these animals and their habitats.
What sort of things inspire you? Where do you look for inspiration?
I get inspired by unique and strange "ugly" species. Everyone loves the cute, furry animals (me included!) but I like to give some attention to endangered species who might not always have the spotlight, like the pangolin, California condor, pygmy hippo- I like giving all species equal love and attention. I try to feature animals from all eco-systems and from all around the world.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel most creative when I am in my studio getting my hands dirty and making these animal heads. Every head is a little bit different- a different frame, a different plaque, and slightly different paint scheme- so I'm constantly staying creative.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process: I research and learn about different endangered animals, and I find animals that I feel would be a great contribution to the Wilde Animals line. After I decide on an animal, I collect as many photos and data of the animal as I can so that I can create a realistic and proportional animal head. I use clay and sculpt the head, and then take a mold of that sculpt. Then I use expandable flexible foams and can run as many heads as I need out of that mold. Then I hand paint each head, apply any fur or whiskers and eyeballs, then mount it on a frame or plaque ready to hang!
What's the coolest artistic tip you've ever received?
Coolest artistic tip I've gotten: Starting a business is extremely difficult, and someone once told me "If you are scared, then you are doing the right thing" and it has really stuck with me through this process. It can be very scary and overwhelming to put your art out there for people to buy, and there are so many times during the process of creating Wilde Animals where I could have stopped or second guessed all my decisions. But instead, I stuck with it and pushed on and also aspired to the highest and greatest goals, and I often think about that saying as it help push me.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can learn more about Wilde Animals and see the animal heads on our website-www.wildeanimals.com. Currently through Wilde Animals, we are doing a "Go Wilde Challenge" where once a week I introduce one small lifestyle change you can make to your life that will greatly impact these animals lives and habitats. I introduce one small change to my own life once a week for a whole year, and I document and teach people about the change, and encourage others to take the challenges with me. Each Wednesday we put up the new challenge on our blog (www.wildeanimals.com/blog) and also on our Facebook and Instagram. The most challenging one for me personally so far this year has been to stop using plastic straws. It's unbelievable how many plastic straws America goes through in one day, and most end up in the ocean and on our beaches. I invested in reusable straws that I clean every night to carry around with me instead of using plastic straws. So check out the challenge- the more we know, the bigger impact we can create.