A name like Lust for Dead Oddities inspires questions, so before talking about art, let’s answer the FAQs.
When deceased animals, animal parts and bones are used as an art medium, it begs the questions, “Where do the bones come from?” and “Is it legal?” and “Why?”
All of the animals used by Lust For Dead Oddities are legally and ethically sourced and are obtained through various sources throughout the country including retired medical specimens, donated pets, collectors, taxidermists, ethical hunters, pest control, sanctuaries, food by-products, breeders and pet stores. That’s according to the artist, Amanda Martinez.
Ethical hunting is defined by Martinez as hunting for the purpose of feeding oneself and also with the intention of using all parts of the animal; not wasting any part of the animal.
“Ethics are different for everyone. For me it’s about respecting the animals,” Martinez said, adding, “I think it’s really important to ask questions and be willing to educate yourself. A lot of people in the oddities community are animal advocates.”
Not just any old bones will do. “Ethical hunting puts the animal down fast, whereas something like roadkill, the animal suffers before it dies and I don’t think that is ethical,” she said. “I never use roadkill for my work.”
Martinez said her position has evolved over time as she as developed her artwork.
As a lifelong East Mountain resident, she grew up in a rural setting and has always been around animals; growing up around farms and horses. She has always had a fascination with oddities and dead things, Martinez said. As it evolved over time into an art medium, and as an oddity collector, animal lover and advocate, she took the time to educate herself about how to use the materials in a legal and respectful way.
“I have done bone work all my life. I have always collected bones and made jewelry for myself and my friends,” she said. Over time, she started sharing her work more and more. People became interested and started asking for custom pieces and buying it. In 2012, she founded Lust For Dead Oddities and kicked off the business with by making resin jewelry and memorial pieces with ashes.
She said she taught herself how to do bone articulations, bone cleaning and how to make jewelry. “I dated a silversmith 10 years ago and he taught me how to use the proper tools and techniques. I also spent a lot of time on Youtube and networking with other artists who do similar work,” she said.
Martinez said said she is completely self-taught in all of her mediums. “I have been making art for as long as I can remember,” she said, describing herself as a lifelong artist.
She started like most artists do, with drawing and painting. Later on that evolved into making charcoal artwork. “I do a little of everything,” she said, adding, “I do dark art, like aliens, bio-mechanical stuff. I had a whole phase of dark stuff,” she said, laughing. Martinez is also a photographer and recently started doing digital art.
“Five years ago, if you would have asked me what my favorite artwork was, I would have said [bone] articulations,” she said. “Now it’s my least favorite to make. It was a lot of pressure and I got a little overwhelmed.”
Her business evolved into offering bone articulations, pagan-style jewelry (ex: copper jewelry with bones), wet specimen preservation, décor pieces, shadow boxes and oddity cloches.
With her ever-evolving and growing business, Martinez participates in the Oddities and Curiosity Expo in Albuquerque every year, a lot of the art pop-ups around the city and the monthly ABQ Art Walk on the first Friday of every month.
This year Lust For Dead Oddities will also be at the Celtic Festival in Edgewood in March.