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by Shawn E. Russell

Featuring a Tiger Salamander with mushroom caps of the Amanita muscaria growing from its back.

The Tiger Salamander is an endangered species native to North America with the largest habitat of any salamander spanning from northern Canada, the eastern United States, and northern Mexico. Its distinctive black and yellow markings act as a warning beacon to predators of the distasteful poison it secretes from its skin.

Amanita muscaria, also known as fly agaric, or fly amanita, is a vibrant red capped mushroom with white ‘puffs’ atop the cap. Mushroom caps are a fungi’s reproductive organs similar to fruit or flowers in many plants which encourage other organisms to consume it, and by coming into contact with it spread airborne spores for propagation. Amanita muscaria is poisonous to humans in that it contains psychoactive agents when consumed.

This piece is a continuation of my mushroom series in which predators are symbiotically colonized by one of the most unassuming organisms on the planet. They are immobile, delicate, and the beautiful mushroom caps have a short visible life. However mushrooms are integral to every life cycle as they consume the remnants of every living thing at the end of its life, and reconstruct that material into nutrient rich matter for the plants around it, which in turn nourishes the entire food chain.

With human history and relations between historically powerful groups exploiting or colonizing other groups in mind, these pieces are a way for me to wonder at the way nature balances itself, and hope for positive change and adaptation in our own ‘biomes’.


graphite pencil

9.5 x 11 inch framed

$350 $350

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Shawn is an award winning Wildlife and Fantasy artist specializing in creating highly detailed naturalistic depictions of animals and people with a supernatural twist. She crafts images using graphite, ink, and ballpoint pen. Her work is inspired by her children, nature, film, the art community and scuba diving.