I fully believe that animals and the natural world have a sentient foundation and that for the most part this goes unacknowledged by contemporary society. Representing animals in my artwork is my way to communicate about their status, honour their instinctive nature to survive and adapt, and to identify that we are not all that different from them.
I have embraced the use of colour as essential to illustrating the sentient nature of animals; to me the colour relates to evolution, or degrees of enlightenment that an animal goes through as it continually encounters changes to its environment and safe spaces, and has to adapt in order to survive. The more colourful the animal, the more adaptation it has gone through. Most of the animals that I depict are canids, bears, and other ‘beasts’ that are frequently reported having encounters with humans, including large mammals that reside in the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of Canada.
The environments of my subjects vary greatly. In some works I keep plain backgrounds, and this comes from a desire to focus on the subject, a desire to give that subject a safe space that is peaceful and calm. In other works the subject is within a colourful abstract environment in order to give the animal a space that is in harmony with itself. Giving the animal a harmonious environment that is un-impacted by humans is a symbolic gesture, an apology in a way, embedded into the work.