British Columbia

'Money taxidermy': Kelowna artist coins a new art form

Kyle Zsombor creates currency sculptures on his father's old taxidermy moulds.

Kyle Zsombor creates sculptures from currency

American Ill-Eagle by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)

Kyle Zsombor is trying to cash in on what he calls "money taxidermy."

As a student at art school, Zsombor started to play around with his father's old taxidermy forms, starting with fur before moving on to other materials. He found a niche with currency, creating works like Chairman Meow Mao out of Chinese Yuan, or American Ill-Eagle from U.S. bills.

Zsombor's work is on display at Orchard Park, the Okanagan's biggest mall, until April 4.

"Everyone goes to the mall," he said. "Not everyone goes to the art gallery."

Mandela Rhino by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)

It all started when the American economic downturn of 2008 which Zsombor saw as an opportunity.

"It occurred to me that the U.S. dollar was so cheap that a Canadian artist could use it as collage material," he said.

His first two projects were Bear Necessities and Cash Cow, mimicking Wall Street's bull and bear sculptures.

"Bear Necessities" by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)

Zsombor is fond of the taxidermy metaphor, noting that he first has to hunt the materials in the jungle of eBay. He then skins the bills before reassembling them on the forms.

"That's my art form, is how I deconstruct and reconstruct these bills," he said.

Turkish Trojan by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)

Zsombor's art was partially inspired by his degree in international relations. While the world struggles to communicate, he says art has a language of its own.

"I don't need to speak Swahili, because my art can," he said.

With files from CBC's North By Northwest.

Guerrilla Gorilla by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)
Chairman Meow Mao by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)
Wall Street Wolf by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)
Brexit Bulldog by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)
Canadian Bucks (3) by Kyle Zsombor. (Kyle Zsombor)