DeviantArt user Sn00glez
DeviantArt user Sn00glez

11 Fan Art Tributes to Teddy Roosevelt

DeviantArt user Sn00glez
DeviantArt user Sn00glez

If you couldn’t tell from our numerous articles about him and our adorable “I love my Teddy” baby jumper, we're big fans of America’s 26th president. And we aren’t alone. In fact, there are hundreds of artists out there with their own tributes to Mr. Roosevelt. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. The Battle of the Century

Easily the most famous of all Theodore Roosevelt fan art, Jason ODIN Heuser’s take on the Rough Rider shows him taking on Bigfoot with a machine gun as he holds the American flag. You’ve never actually seen Bigfoot, have you? Well then, this might just be why.

If you enjoy seeing American historical figures taking on absurd villains, you ought to check out more of Heuser’s work, which includes Nixon fighting a saber tooth, Jackson vs. aliens, and Jefferson fighting a gorilla.

2. A Real Rough Rider

You hardly have to worry about carrying a big stick when you’re already riding a raptor. DeviantArt user cat-gray-and-me78 is probably right in his belief that if raptors were around while Theodore was alive, he would have found a way to domesticate them.

3. Master of the Teddy Bears

You already knew that the teddy bear was named after Roosevelt, who once refused to shoot a bear that was cornered and tied to a tree because it was unsportsmanlike, but you might not know that he had no such qualms about wrestling a whole gang of toy bears. OK, maybe I just made that story up after seeing this artwork by Andres Felipe Jaramillo, but it could happen.

4. Unbearably Manly

While it’s true that Roosevelt thought it unsportsmanlike to shoot a bear that was already tied up, he was certainly big on hunting, and was happy to go up against bears that hadn’t been worn down yet. Even so, I think DeviantArt user Asahi-Kami’s depiction of him fighting a live bear beside a campfire might be a little exaggerated –Theodore would at least arm himself with a big stick.

5. The Bear Necessities

There are quite a few cute fan art designs imagining Roosevelt as an adorable teddy bear, but this clay figurine by DeviantArt user The Muzick Girl really captures his fabulous mustache, lovable facial expression, and fantastic sense of style.

6. Animated and Adorable

For those who prefer to see the 26th president in his human form while modeled in clay, DeviantArt user beeliu’s is an adorably cartoonish take on the Rough Rider. Her creation was sculpted as a reference model for a school project that involved creating a PSA for the National Wildlife Refuge. With a model as great as this one, I’m willing to bet the animation was great.

7. Radical Roosevelt

The idea of Theodore Roosevelt riding a skateboard might seem silly to many of us, but when you consider that he was a huge fan of early American football (at a time when 18 people died playing the sport in just one season), it’s obvious that he supported extreme sports. So maybe, just maybe, he would be a supporter of skateboarding as well, and thanks to Isaiah Bela, we now know he would look pretty cool doing it too.

8. It’s Good to Be the King

Overall, Americans would have a hard time accepting a monarchy, but given how beloved Theodore was during his time in office, it’s possible they might have supported King Roosevelt—especially if he carried around a teddy bear with him to remind people of his sensitive side like he is doing in this portrait by Jaimie Choi.

9. Teddy Night

There is a Doctor Who episode where TARDIS was painted into Van Gogh’s Starry Night, but we all know The Doctor is an imaginary character. Roosevelt, on the other hand, is very real. And if someone builds a time machine and takes Roosevelt to meet Van Gogh, this revised version of Starry Night could one day hang in the most prestigious museums in the world. In the meantime, we’ll just have to admire DeviantArt user Sn00glez’s take on the concept.

10. Spuddy Roosevelt

Some people will pay thousands of dollars for a grilled cheese that has a blurred image of the Virgin Mary, but to me, this Teddy Roosevelt potato by Phillip Obermarck is far more valuable—if only for those stylish rimmed glasses.

11. Can’t Smash This

It’s hard to think of a more all-American jack-o-lantern than this one, carved by pumpkin artist Alex Kish. And while it might be a little hard to recognize with the lights on, the glowing face of Roosevelt is sure to ward off any potential pumpkin smashers on Halloween.

© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Hires Puppy to Sniff Out Art-Munching Bugs
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some dogs are qualified to work at hospitals, fire departments, and airports, but one place you don’t normally see a pooch is in the halls of a fine art museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is changing that: As The Boston Globe reports, a young Weimaraner named Riley is the institution’s newest volunteer.

Even without a background in art restoration, Riley will be essential in maintaining the quality of the museum's masterpieces. His job is to sniff out the wood- and canvas-munching pests lurking in the museum’s collection. During the next few months, Riley will be trained to identify the scents of bugs that pose the biggest threat to the museum’s paintings and other artifacts. (Moths, termites, and beetles are some of the worst offenders.)

Some infestations can be spotted with the naked eye, but when that's impossible, the museum staff will rely on Riley to draw attention to the problem after inspecting an object. From there, staff members can examine the piece more closely and pinpoint the source before it spreads.

Riley is just one additional resource for the MFA’s existing pest control program. As far as the museum knows, it's rare for institutions facing similar problems to hire canine help. If the experiment is successful, bug-sniffing dogs may become a common sight in art museums around the world.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.
Mütter Museum Showcases the Victorian Custom of Making Crafts From Human Hair
Palette work from the collection of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley
Palette work from the collection of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

During the Victorian era, hair wasn’t simply for heads. People wove clipped locks into elaborate accessories, encased them in frames and lockets, and used them to make wreaths, paintings, and other items. "Woven Strands," a new exhibition at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum, explores this historical practice by featuring dozens of intricate works culled from five private collections.

According to Emily Snedden Yates, special projects manager at the Mütter Museum, hair work—as it’s called today—was common in England and America between the 17th and early 20th centuries. The popularity of the practice peaked in the 19th century, thanks in part to Queen Victoria’s prolonged public mourning after her husband Prince Albert’s death in 1861. People in both the UK and U.S. responded to her grief, with the latter country also facing staggering death tolls from the Civil War.

With loss of life at the forefront of public consciousness, elaborate mourning customs developed in both nations, and hair work became part of the culture of bereavement. "[The 19th century was] such a sentimental age, and hair is about sentiment," exhibition co-curator Evan Michelson tells Mental Floss. That sentimental quality made hair work fit for both mourning practices as well as for romantic or familiar displays of fondness.

Palette work culled from the collection of Evan Michelson and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Palette work from the collection of Evan Michelson
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Most hair artworks were made by women, and created solely for the domestic sphere or as wearable trinkets. Women relied on multiple techniques to create these objects, fashioning wreaths with hair-wrapped bendable wires—a process called gimp work—and dissolving ground hair into pigments used to paint images of weeping willows, urns, and grave sites. Watch fobs, necklaces, and bracelets were woven using an approach called table work, which involved anchoring hair filaments with lead weights onto a table and using tools to twist them into intricate patterns through a hole in the furniture’s surface. Yet another technique, palette work, involved stenciled sheets of hair that were cut into various shapes and patterns.

Hair work remained popular until World War I, according to Michelson, who co-owns New York City's quirky Obscura Antiques and Oddities shop and organized "Woven Strands" along with 19th century decorative arts expert John Whitenight.

“Women hit the workforce, and death occurred on such a huge scale that it really swept away the old way of mourning and the old way of doing things,” Michelson says. By the early 20th century, tastes and aesthetics had also changed, with hair work beginning to be viewed “as something grandma had,” she explains.

The Mütter’s exhibition aside, people typically won’t see hair work in major museums. Being a craft primarily performed by women at home, hair works were usually passed down in families and often viewed as worthless from a financial and artistic perspective.

“A lot of hair work was discarded,” Michelson says. Many owners repurposed the shadowbox frames often used to display hair work by removing and tossing the artworks within. Works stored in basements and attics also frequently succumbed to water damage and insects. Antique dealers today typically only see hair jewelry, which often featured semi-precious materials or was encased in a protective layer.

Sepia dissolved hair culled from the collection of Jennifer Berman and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Sepia dissolved hair from the collection of Jennifer Berman
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Yet examples of hair wreaths, palette work, and other delicate heirlooms do occasionally surface. They’re prized by a small group of avid collectors, even though other connoisseurs can be grossed out by them.

“People have this visceral reaction to it,” Michelson says. “They either gasp and adore it—like ‘I can’t get over how amazing it is’—or they just back away. There are very few other things where people are repulsed like this … In the 19th century no one batted an eyelash.”

“It’s a personal textile,” Snedden Yates explains. “It’s kind of like bone in that it doesn’t really decompose at the same rate as the rest of our bodies do. It’s not made of tissue, so if you keep it in the right environment it can be maintained indefinitely.”

Table work culled from the collection of Eden Daniels and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Table work from the collection of Eden Daniels
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

“Woven Strands” features examples of gimp work, palette work, table work, and dissolved hair work. It’s often hard to trace these types of artworks back to their original creators—they typically don’t bear signatures—but the curators “really wanted to find hair that you could connect to an actual human being,” Michelson says. “We chose pieces that have provenance. We know where they came from or when it was made, or who actually donated the hair in some cases, or what the family name was. We also picked out things that are unusual, that you don’t see often—oddities, if you will.”

Woven hair culled from the collection of Jennifer Berman and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Woven hair from the collection of Jennifer Berman
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Displayed in the Mütter Museum’s Thomson Gallery, “Woven Strands” opens on January 19, 2018, and runs through July 12, 2018. On April 7, 2018, master jeweler and art historian Karen Bachmann will lead a 19th century hair art workshop, followed by a day-long historical symposium on the art on Sunday, April 8.

Michelson hopes that “Woven Strands” will teach future generations about hair art, and open their minds to a craft they might have otherwise dismissed as parochial or, well, weird. “We hope that people see it and fall in love with it,” she says.


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