Vulpes Rigor Mortis

'Vulpes Rigor Mortis' was a one month, daily illustration project in March 2016 at the Nes Artist Residency in Skagaströnd, Iceland. The illustrations were done based on photographs taken of arctic fox dissections at the Icelandic Natural History Museum and they filled a lambskin leather book I bound myself with materials from a local leather factory. The paint in each drawing is actually fox blood, collected from the body of a fox given to me by a local hunter in Skagaströnd. The clasp that holds the book's leather flap closed is a broken rib from the spot where that fox was shot.

Hunters in Iceland recieve a bounty from the government for every fox tail that they turn in. Often the tails are taken and the rest of the fox is thrown away, but some hunters send frozen bodies to the Natural History Museum to be dissected. Measurements and samples are taken of each fox and in 2015 the main researcher there, Ester R. Unnsteinsdóttir, said that she recieved 500 foxes from hunters around the country. Iceland's habit of fox hunting--the country's oldest profession--has helped to amass arguably one of the largest datasets for this species.

The arctic fox can be a useful indicator species for assessing the health of arctic ecosystems. The importance of Ester's research and the contributions made by fox hunters is far-reaching.

Please note: the photos will be updated when I return to North America but for now I've scanned them all with my phone