A never-ending drawing
Vermont Studio Center Residency
VERMONT STUDIO CENTER, JOHNSON, VT (1 MONTH)
Let art flow. Sometimes there is no better format for an art project, than a giant scroll. The pallet becomes infinite, material expansive. Working becomes inevitably open-ended, process-oriented, with no clear end in sight. By setting up a series of creative and freeing conditions, I begin a new project.
This drawing derives from an emotional reaction to a single image: a seahorse holding a Q-tip. This image is beautiful yet disruptive at the same time, stirring up complex emotions about human impact on Earth. It ignites wonder and discomfort simultaneously, reflecting the changes in the environment.
Two subjects that are rarely witnessed together — the seahorse and the Q-tip — spark a range of questions. There is friction between organic and synthetic, living and non-living, native and invasive that builds layers of tension. To me, this dichotomy of subject matter speaks louder than words and is a powerful visual tool for environmental advocacy.
I collect a range of images of pristine nature and man-made systems. Source material reflects positive and negative scenes from around the world. Much like the photograph of the seahorse, I draw nature and human impact side-by-side and overlapping. A lush forest grows aside giant trucks filled with lumber while a pile of discarded cell phones scatters into a bevy of quails.
I also illustrate animals and trash. There are hundreds of images online of animals suffering from litter while other species adapt to it. Scenes of birds knotted in fish nets appear next to photos of crustaceans living in the caps of water bottles. Conflicting images of animals and trash are incorporated into the drawing, placed randomly about the page. Some images colorful and bright, others more subdued and difficult to view.
My drawing is free-form yet the subject matter is conflicting. I experience different sensations based on the content I select to draw. I feel energized and hopeful when depicting natural beauty and futuristic technology. Yet, I tense up when illustrating pollution and litter. Who knew that the sensation of drawing changes given the content of the work!
This drawing grows image after image. The more I add to it, the more imagery I want to include. Rather than aiming to resolve it, this project is increasingly more open-ended — I want to add onto it for years! It will be more impactful with deeper complexity. By making it a longer drawing over time, it implies that human impact is divergent, scattering, and always evolving.