- Associated Press - Saturday, August 2, 2014

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Deer skulls, abandoned turtle shells, dried mushrooms and tangled roots - what do all of these things have in common?

They’ve become art.

Gil Narro Garcia first became dedicated in creating sculptures from nature when he moved to Harpers Ferry, but has been interested in nature since he was a child.

Garcia said his love of natural art stemmed from landscape design, which was a family affair growing up in South Texas.

“My brother Mario and I used to compete with garden scenes in the backyard. … I think it’s in our genes,” Garcia said with a smile.

Garcia uses several preservation techniques to bring life to elements that he considers “trash to others” such as broken branches, abandoned exoskeletons and vines. He described one process of using crazy glue to preserve the remains of a dandelion seed after it had blossomed.

“To an ordinary person they’re junk, but to me they are beautiful,” Garcia said.

In order to find elements of nature, Garcia said he takes walks around the canal and rivers.

“I always take a backpack,” he said.

However, while many items are found, there are also a number of natural elements that just make their way to Garcia.

One piece entitled “Trapped x 2” features a bird that flew into Garcia’s plate glass window.

Garcia said he dried the skeleton of the bird in a sand band for 12 months and then painted it with a variety of colors and small feathers.

“I couldn’t have made it because nature made it, but I transformed it into something else,” he said.

Garcia said that many of his sculptures such as “After…” represent a dynamicism of life after death because each element combines to create something new.

Humor is another component of Garcia’s work.

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