The rich and diverse Kingdom of Animalia contains the vast wilds of our world. Although each species treasures its own individualistic identity, similarities and relations prevail. The taxonomic tree of life branches among our seven oceans and continents, rooting all animals at the heart. As new species bud and extinct species depart, like leaves throughout the seasons, the lineage of our planet’s fauna endures. Framed and exposed, the creatures within these portraits divulge their characteristics, their kinships, and their vulnerabilities, allowing for an empathic connection to emerge. From these illustrations, our own lives and experiences are reflected. Each face divulges a story, each pair of eyes unveils an integral part of our shared history, and each living creature depicted strives for a presence within Animalia.
Kingdom Animalia comprises the entire planet’s wildlife, consisting of creatures having breath, soul, or being; thus this series is simply entitled, “Animalia.” This project aims to expose the rich and diverse Kingdom of Animalia and the identities and relations amongst its nearly 8 million species in order to create empathic connections between the animals depicted and the viewers of the illustrations. Each portrait intends to divulge an animal’s story, disclose each creature’s integral part of our shared history, and unveil each life’s presence within our planet’s lineage.
The integral focus of this series will centralize on a collection of realistic watercolor and colored pencil mixed media illustrations of animal portraits completed on 11”x11” Bristol board. These representations frame each animal species in a close-up, vulnerable arrangement that allows the viewer an opening into the animal’s being through the intense gaze of the creature’s glossy eyes. Cropped in a square fashion, the animal’s face is allowed to obscure the entire composition, breaking the sense of boundary and enabling the animal to occupy not only the visual space, but also the mental space of the viewer’s mind.
In May 2015, Texas State University published an undergraduate honors thesis written, researched, and conducted by myself, titled “Faux Foxes: Fox Domestication and Pet Ownership.” This narrative and study addressed animal domestication, biology, and behavior and was the result of five years of vigorous exploration and discovery. This project allowed for the exploration of an audience’s reception to animal appearance and perception and built upon human understanding of domestication. This creative endeavor can build upon these discoveries and continue to analyze human reaction to physical wildlife traits.
As a varied artist, I expect to use a variety of creative tools. Ballpoint pens, gel pens, India ink pens, and pencils allow me illustrate what my mind envisions while opaque mediums, colored pencils, and watercolor paints, paired with paintbrushes, water, and rags, add color and movement to my drawings. Bristol board, cardstock, watercolor paper, and mixed media paper of various weights lay out on the wooden art board before me, abound with potential and awaiting my marks.
A plethora of wildlife documentation and literature aid my thirst for knowledge and unveil a window for me to peer through and observe natural animal behavior. Documented inside are animal tracks and footprints, as well as accurate visual depictions and descriptions of their behavior and taxonomic hierarchy. Among these publications, my own photographic references support my realistic portrayals of wildlife, taken with my personal digital camera and enhanced through the use of Adobe Photoshop. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List website also allows for accurate and reliable conservation research and exploration.
The Adobe Creative Cloud Collection, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and After Effects, will also enable traditional art forms to meet digital media, enhancing my artwork and allowing new ways to share and promote. Such programs will be accessed on a personal computer and laptop and partnered with a tablet monitor and standard drawing tablet and pen.
In order to share my creative process through livestreaming content, three webcams record from my personal computer, partnered with a microphone and headset to allow viewers auditory and visual stimulation. Five lamps illuminate the green-colored screen spread behind me to allow a seamless personal connection on my broadcasts without stealing focus from the artwork.
As a broadcaster and partner of Twitch Interactive, Incorporated, my main connection with the creative community is through daily livestreams. I currently broadcast the creation of my works regularly, generally in 6-hour sessions for a following of nearly 5,500 viewers. I am also a featured artist on the official Adobe Systems, Incorporated Twitch Channel, livestreaming for Adobe’s pool of over 75,000 viewers as often as I am available, generally once a week within a 3-hour session.
As well as livestreaming on Twitch, I create time lapse videos of my creations using Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects to upload to Youtube.
Within the past year, I have attended four networking and convention events within the creative community, partaking in murals, attending panels, showing my work, and meeting with fellow creatives. I have also spoken on two creative panels within the higher education community, educating students on potential opportunities in the creative field and have attended multiple meetings with creative businesses, such as Twitch Interactive, Incorporated and Muxy, Incorporated to discuss creative possibilities that would benefit the community as a whole.
Because my project focuses on animal wildlife, I intend to share my project within the zoological field, as well. In the past year, I have visited several Association of Zoos and Aquarium-accredited establishments and other wildlife refuges. The San Antonio Zoological Society features artists and their works within the San Antonio Zoo, and after creating several works within this project, I will propose to have the work featured before their average yearly attendance of over one million visitors.