The work presented in my current series "Fade," includes images of the six most critically endangered animals in the world: the Amur leopard, Mountain gorilla, South China tiger, Sumatran elephant, Sumatran rhino, and the Hawksbill sea turtle. To create these paintings I used mixed media as a way to depict the ongoing effects that are killing off these animals. For hundreds of species, it has become a daily struggle to survive. Humans are often at fault for the decrease in a species' population through pollution, habitat destruction and poaching.
The animals listed above are in danger of disappearing from our planet entirely. I have chosen to depict them in a manner using mixed media because it suggests their formal dissolution within the painted image. I chose recycled 30 x 48” old, distressed wood panels to work with because the natural aesthetic of the material contributed to my concept. I felt the freedom to be aggressive with the application and removal of the mediums, symbolizing the way species themselves are being destroyed through the aggressive behavior of human hands, and I see this as a metaphor that can be seen as akin to the creatures they depict.
Unlike the historical tradition of glorifying the natural world in its pristine condition, my work addresses the opposite: the degradation of a once thriving species. Mine is a difficult topic, I wanted to express the true consequences of human actions in an abstract way, while also making it easy for viewers to understand. My intent in creating these pieces is to reveal an animal’s beauty, intensity, and vulnerability all at once. Although the imagery in this series does not depict brutality in a literal sense, I felt that the destructive activity of the human species could be more powerfully revealed through imagery which is more poetically depicted wearing away as they are in reality by expressing the true beauty of the animal through color and texture.
My goal in creating this kind of work is to send a message to viewers that change needs to occur in order for endangered species like these to survive and prosper in their habitat. I want my paintings to inspire viewers to get involved: investigate issues of poaching, pollution, and habitat destruction and become active in ways that are effective in protecting not only these animals, but other endangered animals all around the world. We share one world and we all have an important task to keep our home prospering. As Émile Zola once said “The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men”.