Marine Biologist Creates Fantastical Print Show

Fictional renderings of marine and wildlife, reminiscent of vintage natural history drawings, carry an important environmental message.

Credit: Barb Snyder

Animalia Specimen 3b

At first glance this oil monotype print transferred on handmade Japanese rice paper looks like a giant squid. On closer inspection, it is evident that this whimsical image is actually a cuttlefish fused with a jet engine and a crocodile.

Credit: Barb Snyder

Animalia Specimen 4a

This lantern bug morphed with a Sternotomis antennae and honey bee posterior highlights the importance of the honey bee. “Bees pollinate food crops: fruits and vegetables, but many honey bee populations are rapidly declining,” says Snyder.

Credit: Barb Snyder

Animalia Specimen 1b

This striking image of a sea anemone fused with a tube worm resembles an old fashioned natural history drawing. Snyder incorporated red coral to draw attention to the fact that coral reefs and supporting species face endangerment.

Credit: Barb Snyder

Animalia Specimen 2a

This image of a western fruit bat features a red fox face and feet from the extinct Laughing Owl. The background is a photograph Snyder took from a forest near Dalat, Vietnam.

Credit: Barb Snyder

Animalia Specimen 5a

Fast, soft, powerful, rare and hungry were a few of the adjectives Barb used to come up with her artistic interpretation of a black jaguar combined with a ring-tailed lemur. Both animals are considered endangered.

Marine biologist and printmaker Barb Snyder has an intriguing show on at the Dundarave Print Workshop now until November 17. “Look/see” is a collection of fantastical prints based on unique and, in some cases, endangered marine and wildlife. The prints were borne out of a series of interviews where participants were asked to describe an animal using six adjectives.

Snyder loosely interpreted the descriptors to create fictional specimens that invoke a sense of play, fantasy and even science fiction, thereby encouraging viewers to “look/see” for themselves.

Snyder wanted to compete with the distraction of popular culture as well as comment on environmental issues from habitat loss to poaching.

“I drew aspects of real creatures carefully (because creatures are marvelous!), and decided that interpreting the descriptors loosely and combining species (many endangered) shows playfulness and may encourage the viewer’s curiosity,” says Snyder.