Because of their authenticity and attention to detail, I often look for inspiration in the work of 18th and 19th Century naturalists like John James Audubon and Maria Sybilla Merian. During their time, naturalists’ passions to describe new and unusual creatures carried them into areas that were, to members of their culture, largely uncharted. I imagine them braving danger and discomfort in order to encounter and experience the intensity of these animals in their natural habitats. I find this concept to be miraculous and enchanting. In the imagery I choose for my work, I seek to inspire a similar sense of wonder and curiosity.
Scientists continue to discover new species all the time, and I like the possibility that the most bizarre and outlandish creatures we can imagine could easily have existed at some point, or may even exist today. This sense of playfulness and awe is what inspires and fuels my entire practice. With this tile work, I am combining certain 19th C. naturalists’ images and concepts with more graphic and expressive renderings of familiar species to develop intricate and imaginative landscapes. My goal is to create a larger narrative through unusual pairings of animals, birds and insects. I am experimenting with scale, color and composition to create an ecosystem that is based in reality, yet aims to inspire a sense of adventure and mystery as well.