San Francisco-based collage artist Travis Bedel aka Bedelgeuse creates astounding anatomical collages that splice together bones, tendons, and organs with flora and fauna. His collage work, mostly a hybrid of analog and digital techniques, takes on a surrealist quality as human anatomy seamlessly intertwines with crystals, flowers, and feathers. Deeply moved by the mysteries and potentialities of the human body, Bedelgeuse’s work revels in the relationship between humanity and nature.
Throughout all of his works runs a distinct memento mori (contemplation of the inevitability of death) that finds peace and reassurance in the organic structures of the body and the environment. While confronting tendons and bones on their own may be a chilling experience for some, Bedelgeuse places the internal mechanisms of the body in perspective alongside the natural beauty of plants and animals. In the context of butterflies and pansies, even the most deathly images of human anatomy seem peaceful, part of a wider organic whole.
Bedelgeuse uses paper, razors, glue, printers, scanners, and software to create his collages, which range from five inches to six feet in size. Upon drawing a series of images from the public domain, Bedelgeuse begins adding, layering, and manipulating them into surrealist compositions that capture the eye and the imagination. While he is skeptical of art’s ability to endure in the digital age, Bedelgeuse remains confident in the visceral aesthetic experience: “Images nowadays are as disposable as toilet paper, but… I think a lot of people can scroll past hundreds of photos online on a given day, but will always still stop and look when something resonates.”
His work suggests continuity between the human body and the natural world. It is simultaneously sublime and serious, ecstatic and elemental- while visually evocative, Bedelgeuse’s work bends towards the melancholic: “Most of my work represents love, loss and letting go.”