Mould Growth

on Thursday 14/10/21

Created two petri dishes:

Petri dish one: contains samples of “DNA”, saliva, hair, nails, bottom of shoe

Petri dish two: contains samples of mushrooms and food mould

I will be documenting their growth and seeing what works best. I then want to experiment placing my negatives from my initial photoshoot with Julia within the petri dish so that the mould can grow freely over the image.


First trial photo shoot. Using real mushrooms to apply to the face, using eyelash glue.

Focusing on Ophelia painting as inspiration.


  • Out doors worked better for more natural and aesthetic photos
  • mushrooms were quite heavy to use, wire seemed to work well to get them to hold up
  • seemed too “beautified”

Future plans:

  • work a bit darker
  • use vaseline, or other substance on the face
  • add the mushrooms in to it


This is a large scale painting I have begun to create using acrylics.

I am using it as experimentation as I have not painted in a long time. I plan to work into it over a long period of time, and not rush or push it. It will be a physical documentation of my ideas for this project as it continues.

Sculptures Pt.2

I decided to paint the mushrooms on this figure gold. Inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold, whereby embracing the flaws creates a stronger more beautiful piece of art.

I like to think of it as embracing the female form, in whatever form it may take. All bodies are beautiful.

Progression Idea:

  • take it further with castings of real bodies
  • perhaps call for models who have past injuries, illnesses (mastectomies, amputations)
  • to show that no matter what happens, we are still beautiful, it is still our body

Portrait Idea

A very rough mock up of an idea for portraits that depict mushrooms “growing” from the face.

Created using photoshop with images taken from Google.

I could create this using photography, and potentially also painting.

A further idea is to take portrait shots and manipulate them so that actual mould will grow on them: leave them outside, apply food to them to encourage mould growth. Similar to the works of Seung-Hwan Oh.

Idea notes

Do we beautify the death of women?

Women often found in fields/woods/parks

Death in nature


Black dahlia

Portraits of women: mushrooms coming from eyes, mouth etc. scared/worried expression. Disappearing, melting back into the earth, overtaken by death and wasting away. Symbolising that we are helpless to this overcoming growth of violence towards us.

Plinth: A white plinth, plain on three sides and the top, one side will have a mass of mushrooms growing from it. To symbolise the fact that people turn a blind eye to violence against women, it is easy not to see it. But it is festering behind closed doors. 

Uncontrollable, growing unseen and unheard. Engulfing, eradicating 

Like getting the bread from the cupboard to find that it is mouldy. It comes without knowing, without warning. Even if one survives it stays and creeps

Plinth Idea

An idea for a display method:

A white plinth, that is plain on three sides and the top.

On one side a mass of blackened mushrooms is growing.

Portrays the fact that the public/media turn a blind eye to the ongoing plight of women in day to day life.

Everything seems fine on the surface, yet “behind closed doors” it is festering away, ever growing and spreading.



Linking Ideas

The links I have found between my fungi project and violence towards women, both current/past.

The similarities and themes I wish to convey through my art work:

  • the slow creeping growth of mould is silent, engulfing and unpreventable. Violence towards women is much the same, in the way that it is something that has existed for centuries. It feels unstoppable and that nothing will ever stop it from occurring. It feels suffocating, a slow creeping dread. Similar to the growth of mould.
  • relates the two topics to death and the end. Mushrooms grow on things that are dying/rotting.
  • conveys the sense of helplessness towards the situation; it is going nowhere. It is stagnant and mouldering with time
  • It gives a small sense of renewal, the cycle of life after death. A potentially mild glimmer of hope


Words of relation:

  • engulfing
  • suffocating
  • growth
  • unstoppable
  • unpreventable
  • death
  • renewal
  • hopeless
  • leaching
  • stagnant

Reading Materials/Relevant Artists

Ongoing list of readings:

Merlin Sheldrake – Entangled Life

Anna Tsing – The mushroom at the end of the world

Gregory Kenicer – Plant magic

Bloomsbury – Concise mushroom guide



Alison Pollack – macro mushroom photography

The Art of Mould

Daniele Del Nero – Grows mould on model houses