I was born and raised in a safe suburban neighborhood in Littleton, Colorado. My experience with nature was curated through day trips winding among the Rocky Mountains. Subconsciously there was a division in my mind between myself and animals. They were among the trees and rocks, I was between ranch style homes and manicured lawns. Despite this I developed a kinship with animals. They felt familiar and all too often more relatable than the neighborhood children I played with. As these emotions manifested, my five year old self became convinced I was somehow a deer in the suburbs.
Eventually, this confused identity faded away leaving a seed that grew into deep love and insatiable curiosity for wildlife. Art has long served as a way for me to satisfy and explore this love. My work aims to depict the sentience and autonomy of the animal and extend these beliefs to others. To enforce the connection and focus of the animal in my paintings the subjects are rendered alone and in an expressive manner that is true to the species’ anatomy. The animals in my paintings appear without background imagery. Removing the animal from its natural environment represents the surreal and empty environments wildlife is increasingly being forced to navigate. The Anthropocene, or the age of man, is unsurprisingly focused on human needs and superiority. Depicting the animal alone challenges values of the human-centric hierarchy our society operates on.
The large, life size scale of the animal paintings aim to inspire a sense of humility and awe in the viewer all while retaining a sense of realism. The aim of my work is to recreate the captivating moments of interactions that create meaningful bonds between humans and animals. These moments used to be common and played a vital role in our evolution and the evolution of many nonhuman species. In our modern, urban environments people have few chances to engage with nature in general. This has produced a devastating disconnect between species, which has ultimately lead to the grim state our environment and the obstacles animal life is subjected to today. These paintings hope to reintroduce animal life to people who may not interact with animals from day to day. I want to confront the viewers with the power, mystery, fear, and beauty that is encapsulated within the animal gaze and the animal form to bridge the perceived line between animals and humans.