The scene was Denver, Colorado. I was participating in an arts festival. Rain was coming down like I had never seen before. Within thirty minutes the streets were small rivers, knee deep water in places that moments ago were filled with art, artists, and thousands of people enjoying a sense of place. I secured my art, zipped my booth and sought shelter in a random business.

There on the wall, welcoming me, were dozens of latex masks. The usual characters were there; aliens, monsters, presidents, and most importantly, animals. Wanting to delve into the animal world for some time, those masks, mixed with my photo work [at that time], would make for an amusing adventure.

In the summer of 2012 I took my first anthropomorphic pictures. Those initial pictures were enough for me to step back from five years of work and completely change my style/aesthetic/direction.

Hadaptation

Initially, there were a few directions the work wanted to go in. For me, Hadaptation plays on the idea that we, as humans, impact nature in ways that force animals into new [unnatural] environments. We are constantly encroaching upon their habitat directly and indirectly. More and more stories are told of large animals drifting into our cement world. There are species of animals existing only in zoos. Bears have been found riding around the city in garbage trucks. Coyotes making a living off of our domesticated cats. There seems to be endless examples of how our worlds overwelm and intersect in ways that are discomforting. I want to take it a step further and see what it looks like when they are living next door, fully integrated into our cityscapes, our warmed over world.

The strongest images, in my opinion, are those that have a certain balance of discomfort, aesthetic intrigue and a fine line of humor and delicate absurdity. I want my work to resonate on different levels, subtle humor acts as a fine lubricant allowing me to enjoy the process, but more importantly, it has the ability to capture an audience.

Another element threading it's way into my work, taxidermy. While I'm not a fan of sport-killing animals to stuff and hang on one's wall, the art of taxidermy is enthralling. Lately, I've been finding the work of Dr. Sami Khader to be compelling. [Dr. Khader is a zoo director, veterinarian, and self-taught taxidermist living in Palestine]. Also, Robert Rockwell and Carl Akeley who, both worked in the American Museum of Natural History circa 1910. With taxidermy, there are gestures, poses, a false sense of reality, a representation of something that should be living, that makes it something wonderfully complex.

Hadaptation is where I wanted the work to begin. Today, I'm working on a series entitled 'Migrations'. A prequel of sorts. Animals in transition, traveling, living in limbo, the middle spaces of their natural habitat and our civic jungles.

A note on process. I photograph all my imagery. All work is either photographed in the landscape using one shot to capture the whole scene, character included. Or, more often the case, the imagery is composited together [assembling multiple images one on top of another]. At times, the background is photographed first, which allows the 'character' to develop in the studio. Other times, the character is photographed in the studio, inspiring the background. Compositing offers far more control, allowing me to make choices between foreground and background that I wouldn't have otherwise.

HADAPTATION
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