Eve Cohen
EVENT: The Family of Lost Fauna at King County Art Gallery (506 Second Ave, Second Floor, 296-7580). Through Sept 28.

Where do the animals in your menagerie come from? What realm of the imagination are you drawing on? "My work looks a little real, but it's more playful. It has that fairy-tale feel. I like to recycle materials and things that I have around the house, things that have a life to them, like I'm reincarnating them. As if these creatures might have been made from this stuff originally. They're a little erotic--they have genitalia that I've fabricated out of paper, nuts, and twigs, so at first glance they look like friendly toys, but they're more sinister and adult."

Do the materials you find suggest the creature? Or do you go out looking for specific things to build specific bodies? "Basically I start with something--like an idea for a pterodactyl or dinosaur--and then it turns into something else; it's transformed during the process. Depending on the compatibility of the materials, a piece might morph into something I didn't expect."

You mentioned that you like to use parade trash. Do you hang out at parades, follow the floats picking things up? "I love paper ephemera, discarded things that had a life before. I do sweep the streets on the Fourth of July. I love using firecrackers--there's something about the cylindrical form, it's easy for me to see shapes in them. Sometimes I use new firecrackers, but it's nice to use ones that have already gone off."

Like they've used up their expected life already, and you're giving them another kind of life. Life after the boom. "It's a kind of recycling and reincarnating."

So do you feel Godlike? Like God creating Adam out of dust? "It's kind of like they're my children. They take on personalities--sometimes they don't cooperate with me, sometimes they're friendly. I stayed up all night making bedroom slippers for a donkey and thought, 'Now I've gone off the deep end.'"

Interview by Emily Hall