“Wilderness” is my seventh show since graduating from Pratt Institute with my BFA last May, it is my first solo show in New York City. The drawings in the show are all pieces done within the last year and a half, and range in size from 18” by 20” inches to 5 by 6 feet. All of the pieces in the show explore the relationship between humans and animals; the idea of the human denial of our animal nature and of humans as the dominant species, as well as revealing the mutation of the animals identity due to human interpretation. My work alludes to the boundaries that separate humanity from animals both physically and metaphysically, as well as the objectification of and personification of the natural world.
Where is the best place for dinner in the city?
Well it depends what you’re going for, but Bozu in Williamsburg is an amazing little sushi place, they have a roll called the “Spicy McBomb” that is powerfully addictive, and they make good cocktails too. If you want the best pub food I’ve ever had in the city I’d have to say go to Chip Shop, for fish so amazing beer battered your arteries will try to flee from your body, and odd British food and drink like Treacle pudding, spotted Dick, Fizzy Ribena, Scotch Eggs, and of course Haggis.
I recently saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which is a gorgeous film about the power of imagination. I also went and saw the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which was visually beautiful, although almost completely without plot.
Did you have any pets growing up?
I had two rats, a cat, a fish tank full of semi-cannibalistic fish, a gecko, and a very mean hamster that belonged to my younger brother. My sister and I were also forever taking in wounded birds and moles that we found in the woods behind our house.
Some of my style comes from scientific illustration, because as a child I loved to read the encyclopedias of animals that my dad owned, as well as his many bird and plant guides. I also owned a plethora of old Faerie Tale picture books, and would draw out of them for hours. Even at a young age I would invent species, drawing them so that they would be perfectly fitted to survive in the imaginary ecosystems I devised for them. I have always been interested in tight details and in the minute, so that although I now draw on a very large scale, I maintain the same level of detail as I would for a small illustration.
Do you have a favorite creature to draw?
I find myself drawing birds most often, and foxes. If I have no specific idea of what I want to draw, which is often the case, I will just start sketching and usually it’s birds and multi-faced foxes that appear on the page.
Animal rights are not as bad here in America as say in China or Indonesia, but they are still dismal at best. Look at what happens to someone who say, tortures a dog, or starves their horses, they get maybe six months in jail, but usually just a fine or community service depending on the state, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are all the issues surrounded factory farming and the abuse of livestock, and America’s animal shelters which are filled to the brim and euthanizing 4 to 6 million cats and dogs each year. Then there are puppy mills, deforestation, the dumping of garbage into our oceans and rivers causing irreparable damage to our country’s watersheds, the list goes on and on. Almost every natural ecosystem in this country is in decline, and our house pets are hardly doing better as far as their rights go. As a world power America should be leading the way in animal rights, but we have almost no legislation in place to protect the creatures that inhabit this country with us.
What do you find helps motivate you as artist?
Animal rights issues motivate me as an artist and drive me to create new works.
Delicious, though I used to just drink them instead of eating them when frozen.
Sandwich or Burrito?
Sandwich for sure, unless it’s a breakfast Burrito, I just can’t say no to potatoes and eggs wrapped up together.