It is quite possible that just about everyone with an active interest in paintings of fantastic animals has already seen the work of Bobby Chiu. If not, well, then I am happy to introduce his work to you. It does not really fit that well with what I normally discuss on this blog: I like a hefty dose of science in my creatures, and Mr Chiu's work does not provide that. But I have made exceptions in the past before (for instance here and here). On looking back at the exceptions I realised that I am never much impressed by fire-breathing dragons and aggressive mean-looking monsters. There are plenty of those to be found on covers of books or on Deviant Art, so it is not a lack of availability. Instead, a sense of humour is more important to me, and Mr Chiu's painting have that in abundance. If you wish to have a closer look, here is his own site, and you will also find him on Deviant Art and on the CG society. Or just try 'Bobby Chiu' on Google.
Did I mention that he is an incredibly good painter? Just look at the composition of this one. You really have to know what you are doing in order to lay out your subject in this way.
A 'Kangamolerat bunny'. I guess the name says a all: bits of kangaroo, naked molerat and bunny. I do not think I have to point to this cutie's dark side. I love the way the light strikes the rock wall behind the bunny.
A Baterpillar Farret. What else?
And a 'Big Bad Bunny Eater'. Mind you, there is some serious biology here: the real bunnies are obviously attracted by the fake one, so this is a nice example of 'aggressive mimicry'. Mimicry describes the situation where one living species resembles another one for some purpose. It is not camouflage, in which an animal merely tries to blend in with its environment. In defensive mimicry animals may look like more dangerous ones, which stops them from being attacked. But in aggressive mimicry the predator does the trickery, usually by mimicking something the prey is interested in. In this case, you wonder what it is about the fake bunny that so mesmerises the real bunnies? Could it be sexual attraction? It wouldn't be the first time a pair of pretty eyes led a man/bunny to his doom.
All this reminded me that I had once also painted a fictional animal displaying aggressive mimicry. The painting was done when I was about 20, and now, some decades later, it is lost; all I have is a poor black and white image. That is just as well in a way, as I would not dare to compare my painting skills with those of Mr Chiu. But the subject matter does lend itself well to a comparison: somewhat dumb herbivores are lured to a sinister fate by a predator with a cunning plan.
Oddly, both Mr Chiu's predator and mine seem to take a perverse delight in what they are doing. Perhaps there is 'aggressive mimicry' going on at different levels here: the humour hides something sinister, creeping through...