THE Mastodon Project
"Mourn" an American Mastodon (M. americanum).
This sculpture is like nothing I’ve ever made before. It’s of an animal that has been extinct for approximately ten to twelve thousand years, likely because of human pressures. These massive creatures were once widespread across North America. The American mastodon, which is what I’ve created, is the first species that scientists recognized as having gone extinct. In this way, they are fundamental to our understanding of extinction.
I learned about mastodons and other mega fauna early on in my Biology degree, and when I started building my sculptures I became fixated on the idea of creating one. I wanted to give myself, and others, the opportunity to see a mastodon in an environment similar to its natural habitat. The only way for me to make that happen was to hike driftwood into the forest, one backpack at a time. This sculpture is over eight and a half feet at the shoulder and likely weighs over two thousand pounds. I’ve kept its location secret for several reasons. Partly, I like the magic of people knowing it exists but not knowing where. I love the idea of someone stumbling upon it in the woods. But I’m also scared that history will repeat itself, and the mastodon will be damaged.
I hope that if someone does stumble upon my mastodon, or sees images of it, they might reflect on the animals living today that could be lost due to human impacts. Just as the mastodon became a symbol of extinction, I hope that my sculpture can be a message of conservation.
"This sculpture is over eight and a half feet at the shoulder and likely weighs over two thousand pounds."
"Just as the mastodon became a symbol of extinction, I hope that my sculpture can be a message of conservation."