My early work was in reaction to the macabre in Victorian butterfly displays and inspired by my desire to breathe life into them. I replaced uniformity with movement and created hand-cut compositions that appeared to be breaking free of their frames and exploring the potential of breaking free from the confines of static, ordered singularity.
Conceptually I transform nature’s most arresting specimens into living beings by reimagining the poses and formations of real life and translating these into compositions that help us connect with them.
Through a process of origination of artwork consisting of photography, digitisation, retouching and image manipulation my production is extensive as it is thorough. Colourisation of images to achieve the most impact, accuracy of colour to the species or visual effect help me to control and Compliment colour compositions to achieve balance.
After the production of the finished digital artwork, there begins a phase of realisation – choosing from a wide range of premium papers I specify a paper tone and finish that will both compliment the species’ colour and/or add a dimension of playfulness with ambient light.
Once print tested and the profile cut to shape I start the process of engineering into 3-dimensional shapes and inking out the edges of each creature. Creature patterns that need to wrap around the edge of the paper are painstakingly touched out with a brush or felt pen. Surfaces are then scored and folded into shape.
The composing of the art piece can then begin in earnest! I achieve depth and texture by pinning layer upon layer of the folded creatures to achieve a striking impact of colour. Pinning into place hundreds and in many cases thousands of creatures into either the natural flow of the congregating species or composing his own geometric patterns.
My work first explored butterflies, whose varying colours and wing patterns lend themselves particularly well to graphic compositions. I continue to work with butterflies while exploring the potential in shoals of fish and flocks of birds.
After graduating from Falmouth Art College in 1993, I immersed myself in a career in Graphic Design, working at leading branding design agencies with a broad range of clients. Although rewarding and varied, my true love has always been to craft with my hands, and I realised that this was what I wanted to return to.
I started creating art for my home and for my friends in my spare time, and over a few years developed a focus on the visual drama of the natural world. Which I was able to demonstrate with my first piece ‘Great Escape’.
I also became interested in ‘multiples’, and how art can draw inspiration from the way creatures naturally appear in large numbers.
Vintage Victorian butterfly and animal displays have always fascinated me, but for one aspect: the creatures had to die in the process. I wanted to see them come alive in frenzied movement, in their natural “chaos” – rather than in regimented, grid-like patterns.
The way creatures flock or gather in the wild is fascinating, and I became interested in how this can be used in a graphic composition. The natural world creates beautiful patterns out of what can seem to be random and chaotic. But this chaos is actually choreographed by the creatures themselves – be it by communication or a shared motivation.
I dedicated myself to my art in 2015 and encompassed it as ‘Faunart’. The idea behind the name was to simply communicate the meeting of fauna and art.