Bookshelf: Hanimals, by Mario Mariotti (1982)

The late Italian artist Mario Mariotti (1936-1997) experimented with a number of mediums before he found an artistic outlet that was literally at arm’s reach: his hands.

Using little more than paint, a plain backdrop, and the occasional plastic eye, Mariotti transformed his ten stubby fingers and hairy arms into a colorful and ingenious array of every day animals. His imagination was immense, and wildly apparent through the sheer multitude of animals he was able to create. With whimsy and a sense of humor, Mariotti’s hands became fauna found in the air, on land, and under the sea.

For more of his work, watch the delightful video at the bottom of the page.

From the Hanimal’s intro: The human hand is of great symbolic importance. With it we touch others, we bless, we make, we pray, we speak, we greet, we nurture. Early men deliberately painted their hands on the walls of their caves. This book attempts to direct us back to the hands’ primacy and power. It tries to restore to us the wonder that those distant men felt when they looked at their hands.