November 29, 2011
Miami Artist Accused of Smuggling Animal Parts for Taxidermy Projects
By Chad Love
Here's one from the "Shoulda Stuck With The Jackalope" files. A Miami, Florida man is accused of illegally smuggling animal parts from all over the globe so he could fashion them into taxidermy "art."
From this story in Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel:
Miami Beach sculptor Enrique Gomez De Molina fashions bird beaks, antelope hooves and other wildlife parts into fanciful animals and calls it art. Federal prosecutors call it a felony. De Molina has been charged with wildlife smuggling for allegedly importing a vast range of protected animal parts from China, Indonesia, Bali, Thailand and the Philippines into the United States for a highly profitable art business.
Among his purchases: An orangutan skull, king cobra, a slow loris, a woolly stork, skulls of heavy-beaked birds called hornbills, a rare bird called the Himalayan Monal and many other protected species, according to court papers filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
"...If convicted, the artist faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. De Molina's artworks are fanciful animals thrown together from mammal, bird, reptile and insect parts. A four-legged creation called Paradise consists of an orange-beaked, tufted bird's head, a thin furry neck, the body of some sort of mammal, legs with hooves and a feathery tail. Among the parts used to make this work, according to the caption on the artist's web site, were bird of paradise, pheasant, hornbill, fallow deer and mouflon ram.
"The impossibility of my sculpture brings me both joy and sadness at the same time," De Molina, 48, says on his web site.
Hmmm, wonder which emotion he's feeling right about now? I'm guessing sadness--but they say all artists must suffer for their art, and with a little free time in a federal clinky who knows what creatures he might come up with? Any suggestions?