"I grew up living above my parents restaurant, which meant that I didn’t get a lot of time to hang out with my Dad, but when he finished service I would join him in the studio to do my art homework. When he wasn’t being a chef, his other passion for painting took over. I guess it was then that my love for painting really started to flourish. I can’t say that I enjoyed education too much, so when I realised that I could study art at University I pursued that and acquired a degree in Falmouth, Cornwall.
I have been living in London since 2010 and fulfilling this idea of making an income from my creativity. I maintain a fairly balanced combination of painting in the studio and painting murals in the public domain. I get huge enjoyment from both and embrace the influences that both practices have on each other.
My subject matter focuses on animals but always strives to find a human reference to juxtapose an element that might not be previously obvious. For example with my show ‘Afrofabrication’ I entwined fabric patterns to the animals in an attempt to comment on a human desire to cover up, or indeed use flamboyant colours, to attract a mate. ‘Last of my kind’, documents critically endangered birds with references to extinct musicians. The idea for this series of work was to question why humans often fail to recognise a disappearing species yet mourn the death of a celebrity.
My recent documentation of endangered creatures and raising of awareness of statistics has on occasion been associated with activism. I find this a bit daunting as I only see myself as an artist but I definitely see the power of visual language and I’m enjoying using that power via my murals and the modern world of social networking."
With dozens of species becoming extinct every day, many scientists believe up to 50% of species are heading towards extinction by 2050. Over 12,000 animal species are currently considered threatened across the world.
The USA boasts one of the most diverse displays of nature, whether in the desert, forest or swamp. Each ecosystem hosts its very own unique species that depend on the environment. But, within these ecosystems are some of the worlds most endangered species. As human pressure on the natural environment increases, the problem is only escalating.
With nearly one in four mammals under threat in the USA, from the gray wolf to the manatee, ‘The Art of Beeing’ highlights local species at risk and the urgent need to act on climate change and the environment. I’m focusing on bees in particular because they’re crucial to the survival of ecosystems and species.
For this trend to reverse, humans must re-evaluate nature and put species protection at the heart of society at every level; from policy to business, communities and individuals.
‘The Art of Beeing’ is calling for individuals to unite, much like bees, to put nature first.
The true‘Art of Beeing’ is humanity coming together to restore the planet.
The time to end extinction is now.
"I’m painting toys because if we don’t act now to stop extinction, only toys will remain in place of animals.
Patchworks are of particular relevance because they were traditionally passed down families by women. I am leaving my patchwork paintings on walls as memories for the children of tomorrow. The bees in this series can be found stitching up the toys because they are the planets’ warriors, they are keeping the planet stitched together. Sadly, bees are under immense threat in the United States.
photo credit -@teebyford
West Indian Manatee – Trichechus manatus
- Status – Vulnerable
- Estimated numbers – 2,310
- Population trend – Decreasing
- Location – Caribbean and Florida
- Why are they under threat – The West Indian manatee has been hunted for hundreds of years for meat and hide, and continues to be hunted in Central and South America. Illegal poaching and collisions with vessels are both a constant source of manatee fatalities. Additionally, environmental stresses such as red tide and cold waters cause several health problems and even death.
- What can you do – Adopt a manatee and help support the savethe manatee foundation with their conservation work. If you use a speed boat, make sure that you are aware of where manatees live and breed and avoid them. You can also join Defenders of Wildlife and support their work with manatees.
- Species foundation – savethemanatee.org
photo credit -@teebyford
#1 in The Art of BEEING postings. Stay tuned!