A white snake rips open to reveal red entrails and wings around a branch with ochre flowers

“Made of Gold” (2021). All images © Lauren Marx, shared with permission

The living and the dead coexist in vivid color in the fantastic tableaus of artist Lauren Marx (previously). From her St. Louis studio, Marx entangles predators and prey with flora and fauna in dense scenes rendered in a mix of pen, watercolor, and colored pencil. Snakes burst open to reveal feathered wings, an owl snacks on the maroon entrails of a rabbit, and a three-headed creature sprouts dried grass from its midsection. Straddling the line between the beautiful and the brutally grotesque, the works intertwine myriad species and states of being.

Given the trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasingly destructive effects of the human-caused climate crisis, Marx says the theme of loss of life has become more poignant and profound. “I feel the tension is even greater now after seeing death become part of our daily lives nonstop for years. It went from a casual observation to a persistent one,” she shares. “It’s honestly very overwhelming for me.”

The artist translates this grief into the mythological, rendering creatures like unicorns and dragons in vibrant hues. Fanciful by nature, these pieces twist lush florals and technicolor serpents around the horned beasts, with their deep purple intestines peeking through white fur. “I felt this urge to create bright pieces in order to cheer myself,” she says. “Now, those subjects play a huge role in where I want to take my work in the future.”

In November, Marx’s work will be included in a group exhibition at Haven Gallery in Long Island. Peek into her process on Instagram, and shop prints and stickers on Etsy.


Grass grows from a three-headed animal with birds nearby

“The First” (2016)

A cheetah eats a bird with colorful feather whose entrails are outside its body

“Starry Eyed” (2021)

An owl with wings overhead and below grasps the intestines of a rabbit in its beak

“Good Luck Spells” (2022)

Flora and Fauna Entwine in Lauren Marx’s Mixed-Media Studies of Life and Death

Blueberries and red leaves sprout from a crow with a white snake intertwined

“Crow and Blueberries” (2020)

Two works featuring white unicorns with birds and snakes intertwined

Left: “Unicorn II” (2021). Right: “Unicorn” (2020)

a ferret is surrounded by green leaves and a white flower, its ribs sticking out

“Queen of the Night” (2021)

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