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Light-Hearted original artwork

Light-Hearted original artwork


This was a particularly intentional work of art to put together. Like most of my art there is a lot going on within this oval frame. The main theme however is chronic illness and the isolation that naturally comes with it, and the agony of being invisible within visibility.

A buckeye butterfly specimen sits atop a juvenile chicken skull; bodiless mask atop a flightless bird; this is the peril of being told to overcome the impossible, and a mask that is worn that says “this is fine; I’m okay” when within I’m screaming to be seen and screaming in the agony of chronic pain and the new agony that comes with this rejection; the two sets of shouting rat bone mandibles.

This all depicted upon a bed of dried red rose petals I once got from an ex from a very archaic Valentine’s Day. The relationship with this ex fueled the already loud and raucous distrust of my own body, my suffering, my worth and I had to “mask” a lot in front of them. Roses can symbolize a lot, but they cannot hold me the way I ask; roses are thorny, and tend to remind me of the sympathy over empathy our society gives far more easily to the ill and struggling.

The only thing I could ever asked for was warmth, affection and the golden healing light of feeling seen and lived wholly for all that I am. Hence the work is framed within a rib cage-esque antique frame depicting a heart starved for love in deep set suffering. It’s a piece that shouts; See me. Feel with me. Don’t leave me alone in this like so many have. It’s a brave stance to ask for visibility, much braver to know one’s worth enough to ask and be let in at all.


Upon creating this piece, I was in the midst of a very difficult break up and seemingly trapped within headspace where I was ready to start a metamorphosis away from the harshness of that dynamic to be able to receive true love and begin to realize the kid of love I knew I needed to survive chronic illness.

The jaw bone mandibles symbolize harsh words spoken that was then believed and internalized into further pain and suffering by my own sharp-toothed internal demons. The butterfly specimen symbolizes the desire to break free and transform my state of being and inner dialogue into something filled to the brim with love, symbolized by the dried, preserved roses which were part of a bouquet I received while in the throes of romance and love. Their dried state signified a both maturity, permanence and wisdom in their deep dark red and heart-like veiny texture, but also much of the pain and suffering in the relationship was causing a pre-existing heart condition to flare up. The heart-like texture of the dried roses also serves to symbolize a heart-like texture within a rib cage made of strung chain work. The cage work ready to burst free yet trapped in a stasis as a reminder of that stamp in time.

A genuine Buckeye butterfly wing specimen is spread lovingly against a bed of dried red rose petals. This specimen was salvaged from a mistreated collection of local moths and butterflies, so each wing has it's own unique character. Rat mandible jaw bones flank the butterfly specimen.

See this work on my Instagram

Specimen illustration is floating in an antique plaster and hangs from a sturdy hanging wire in back. Also perfect for shelf display or altar using your frame holder of choice.


Please message me with your custom design ideas! To purchase complimentary designs, be sure to take a look at my other individual sets in my Original Art Collection.




All remains are ethically sourced and naturally deceased. Please visit my blog for more about the ethics of my work. 

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All designs and photography in my shop are property of ©Altar Ego Design

This frame is roughly 16" x 12" and 1.75" wide. Frame is a vintage plaster, the brass frame within housed with a hand treated felt backing and stamped with the Altar Ego stamp of authenticity.

Hangs by an ornate, external metal ring on top of the frame.

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