Frans de Waal wrote: "To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us."

I paint the portraits of birds and animals as individuals. It is essentially anthropomorphism. I try to imbue these birds and animals with human emotions and motivations. I don’t know how they see the world. I am using them to reanimate the bond between an increasingly urban world and our own essential animal nature. I hope that their portraits invite us to see the commonality; the stress, struggle, and fear imbued with dignity that binds us all as living beings in a very large universe

I often wonder what the world looks and feels like to others. Not just other humans, but to other creatures. This curiosity might have begun upon viewing the Disney animated 'Sword in the Stone'. Merlin turns Arthur into an owl and a fish. However in the movie Arthur still sees the world with human eyes and cognition. He gets to fly like a bird and swim like a fish but he doesn't get to be them, with their understanding of the world. Our eyes, ears, sense of smell, skin, nerve endings, and brains are all structured in a different way. For example many birds can see uv light. Our concept of visible light is human centric, as is our construct of the world in general.

What might I get to experience if I stop being me and truly become another. What is it like to be a plant? Do plants process information in a way that is analogous to thinking, but in a way that is unavailable to us.

There is information all around us that we don't notice, because we can't. We do however have imagination and wonder. In order to expand our world we should empower these capacities. Get out there and ponder.

My Process

I photograph each of my subjects. The experience of being there in that moment, interacting with the bird or animal, is an important first step in my process. I sift through hundreds of photographs looking for something. I'm not looking for the best photo, but rather something that strikes me as both enigmatic and universal. I wish to catch the animal in the act of living. Observed reality is then prismed by my own sense of wonder, creating an unsentimental but empathetic view. It is an aesthetic of challenged beauty, with loss, tenacity, humor, yearning and most of all of possibility. I choose a size of support and a design that further my goals. Lastly I pick up my brush and apply oil paint to a flat wood panel.