It is inherent in human nature that one feels the need to create hierarchy, placing humankind above all else. We create barriers, isolating ourselves as more sentient and conscious than any other living thing. Water, plants, and wildlife are often viewed as commodities, free for the taking. This is a one-sided, unhealthy relationship. In order to successfully coexist with, not in, the environment, one must consciously enter a symbiotic relationship with the natural world. When one begins listening and watching the way elements of the environment interact with each other, humankind begins to learn about not only the amazing patterns of behavior in the world, but also more about their own nature.
I consciously repurpose what I take from the environment in my art in order to advocate for the natural world. In doing so, I present wildlife as conscious, sentient, and individual. I challenge the motivations and actions surrounding poaching, hunting, and the utilization of animals as décor. I highlight the inability to disassociate the animal from the parts that humans deem important. They are one in the same, thus emphasizing the dignity and holistic value of the animal.
I explore material and surface manipulation to create a conversation about the interaction between the animal realm and humankind. Through the agency of manipulating or constructing my own mediums, I tell a story surrounding issues of wildlife conservation and animal rights. I pay homage and show respect to the wild nature and inherent beauty of each individual creature. My mixed media experimentation, scale, and diversity of textures combine to present the viewer with an interactive work that calls for physical engagement. Through this engagement, the viewer leaves with a fuller understanding of the natural world and the desire to continue the conversation.
I am deeply influenced from my travels through Tanzania. Through the experience of camping and living alongside the animals within their own space, I understood how they interacted with and affected their environment. It is because of these travel experiences that I became passionate about the conservation of various endangered species and the sustainable integration of humankind within the natural world.
I similarly draw influence from the work of observational biologists and environmental rights activists who study and understand the personalities and value of different species. Through extensive research in the fields of science, politics, and psychology, I develop a well-rounded understanding of the animals I represent and the multi-layered issues surrounding poaching and environmental conservation.