Antoine Helbert: Hybrids in Fine Art and Advertisement
Hybrides is Antoine Helbert’s series of illustrations combining the features of birds and people, particularly women. Culturally, it is not unusual to attribute femininity to the quick movement and behaviors of birds, but in Hybrides, Helbert applies the less glamorous scaly feet and caruncles of birds to humans, and the combs and bright feathers of male birds to female humans. It is not clear in each illustration whether the bird additions are costume, growth, or innate to the humans: in some it is a complete cover of feathers over skin; in others, it seems like the coloration or texture could be makeup or accessory. There is a twinge of tongue-in-cheeck humor in the depiction of a peacock-man holding a peacock-feather fan, a crane-person holding crane-feather quill, or a rooster-woman with a chicken leg on a plate before her, alongside the serious, total and equal acknowledgement of the features of bird and human.
Hybrides, and other illustrations from Helbert, can be found here.
But the conceptual illustrations are not the only work Helbert has done that combine human and animal figures into one. In a series of advertisements for the soft drink Orangina, released in France in 2008, Helbert employs the risque language sometimes employed in the Furry subculture, using anthropomorphic animals to express human sexuality. In the advertisements, animals from the puma to the penguin to the jellyfish take on stereotypically sexualized and gendered poses of humans for a playful and unusually racy way to sell a product.
The rest of Helbert’s Orangina posters can be found here, and include anthropomorphized plants as well as animals.