Homage to Children & Beasts
Combining animals, children and art is not new. Western societies have had an obsession with childhood since the late 18th century and ubiquitous childhood images pervade our culture through advertising. We idealize childhood innocence. In Medieval Bestiaries animal stories were used for moral teaching and to illuminate theological principals. The information was not scientific but served as metaphor or allegory; stories easily remembered to show the appearance, strange habits and foibles of each creature and to liven up sermons. In examining images from my collection of vintage family photos, I began to notice many images of children with family pets, farm animals or animals at petting zoos. Children feel a kinship with animals; both are felt to be untainted by the artificial structures of human civilization and remain natural and innocent. What better way to illustrate our middle class concepts of nostalgia and the ideal childhood than to merge these principles; the innocence of the ideal Western childhood with the charm, humor and imaginative aspect of the Medieval Bestiary?
All the work is egg tempera and 22k gold leaf on vellum (animal skin).