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Japanese artist uses dead animals for Skeletal art

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A former fisherman transforms discarded sealife into stunning works of art displaying "the inner beauty of the dead".
Japanese artist uses dead animals for Skeletal art
Japanese fisherman and ichthyology(study of fish) undergrad, Iori Tomita, has found a way to give life to dead and discarded sea creatures by transforming their corpses into colourful works of art. The 28 year old fisherman-turned-artist creates his art through a scientific technique of preservation and dying which is an eight stage process beginning with removal of the scales and skin of the fish that have been preserved in formaldehyde. After dying the fish cartilage blue to make it clearly visible, Tomita applies over 10 different chemicals which break down the protein in the specimens' muscles, leaving the creature transparent and exposing their skeleton. The skeleton is then dyed red to contrast with the blue cartilage and placed in a jar of glycerine for preservation. The process results in a brightly coloured, glowing skeleton that easily catches the eye. “These specimens which you see here are actually animals that have died for some reason or whose carcasses were discarded from pet shops or fishermen. I use those animals which passed away and repurpose them,” says Tomita. According to SkyNews, the process takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months for a smaller fish, while larger fish can take up to a year to complete. Tomita first encountered the processes of creating transparent specimens when he was 19 years old, while attending the Kitasato University School of Fisheries Sciences in Japan. Since then Tomita has been trying to create his own see-through fish for artistic purposes. Taking 7 years to perfect the process, Tomita states that 9 out of 10 attempts are a glowing success. Tomita’s exhibition is titled Shinsekai Toumei Hyouhon (translating to The New World of Transparent Specimens) and has been invited to be displayed in big cities such as Paris and New York. At the moment, Tomita’s specimens can purchased from a chain of department stores in Japan called Tokyu Hands. Tomita states on his website: “Right now, I do not sell specimens outside of Japan. I will consider selling overseas if I can find an appropriate method of transportation, payment, and communication.”. Check out a gallery of Tomita’s New World of Transparent Specimens through the app available on iTunes here.

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