Extinct Marine Creatures Live On Through Kelly O’Dell’s Glass Art

Extinct species have been fascinating artists for centuries, and Kelly O’Dell happens to be one of them. This talented glass artist is using her body of work to bring back extinct marine animals to life, and she sees her creations as reminders of our borrowed time.

O’Dell spent most of her life in Hawai’i, and her upbringing on this island inspired her journey as an artist for the decades to come. She fell in love with glass art during her time at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she also explored her interest in oceanography, astronomy, and math.

Her glass art explores the human impact on the natural world by examining species extinction and conservation. She puts an emphasis on ammonites, cephalopods reminiscent of today’s living coleoids, that often have spiraled, shell-like shapes that she enjoys mimicking through her art.

O’Dell decided to focus on extinct species for a reason, and she sees her glass sculptures as a reminder of what we leave behind once we’re gone.

“Coming from a place where active volcanoes constantly rumbled and gurgled, I grew up obsessed with my own mortality. Through sculpture, my work explores themes of ‘memento mori’, as well as extinction, preservation, and origin,” she explains on her official website.

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