Little Wounds— A Celebration of the Beginning and the End of Life

Little Wounds is where the illustrator Daphne Deitchman share's her cute, yet dark work. She self-describes her art as, "A celebration of the beginning and the end of life." Read her interview and see her work below:

HS: When did you start incorporating death and decomposition into your artwork? 

DD: I began incorporating death around 2013, in college, although I've been fascinated by death ever since I can remember. I started incorporating decomposition at the end of 2015, after my pet rat died (a small but devastating death). I buried him in a little eucalyptus forest. I wanted to make his death as beautiful and loving as possible, and I ended up feeling a lot of anxiety about what was going to happen to his body. I had an urge to preserve him, but it's all part of the life cycle for our bodies to decay and feed future life. I find that really amazing and beautiful. And it helped me accept the loss. Since then I've been incorporating decomposition into my artwork as well.


HS: What about those subjects piqued your interested?

DD: I think the fact that death is the ultimate unknown makes it very interesting. We will all experience death, we will all lose family and friends. Just like taking a breath, all human life (and animal life) endures it. I think many people do not want to accept that our lives will end someday (I can relate), but knowing life in impermanent makes it so much sweeter. I noted some of my interest in decomposition above. I also love science, so decomposition is just super great to study.

HS: Why do you juxtapose the darkness of decomposition, death, and unborn animals with cuteness?

DD: I use cuteness to disarm the morbid subject matter, to help bring people into a place where they can experience death in a manageable and ideally positive way. I sometimes wonder if it reflects my own inability to fully look at death for what it is, but it's all part of the journey. My work may trend more towards the grotesque as I keep at it haha. And as for unborn animals, I actually just find them adorable.

HS: What inspired you to draw the presidential candidates decomposing?

DD: This was such a fun project!! I struggled to find interest in the election, so this series was a way to connect with such an important current event. I just find politics to be frustrating. Super powerful people pining to be elected to be even more powerful; it's sickening. But, these people are all going to have the same end that we all inevitably do. No man is more powerful than death. So that's where that began. This was also an opportunity to study different symbols of death, such as monarchs and poppies. I also knew that there could only be one candidate elected, so depicting them dying would be a good metaphor for their defeat. 

HS: What is the significance of animal fetuses in your work?

DD: I am drawn to animal fetuses for so many reasons. Firstly, because they seem impossible. I truly don't know how such a delicate thing could grow into what we know of as animals. Secondly, I love thinking about the sides of life that we don't consciously experience. Just like death, so much is unknown about birth and consciousness. When does our consciousness form? How does it form? How are these cells pulled together just right to form a cow? Thirdly, I think they are beautiful, and I want to show others that beauty. 

Check out more of Daphne's work on her Instagram page and make sure to visit her shop where you can buy prints of her work and lapel pins.