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  • Madeline Mitchell

Gothic Wildlife Art?

It's not a phase! It's actually wildlife art. No really, I promise, beneath all the skeletons and endless angst, conservation lies at the heart of my work.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "how in the wide wide world of sports do skeletons and wildlife conservation go together? Maddie, what kind of cracked up Tim Burton nonsense is that?" Well my friends, in the world of art all things are possible, yes, even skeleton horses and crying lions.


But what's the point of my moody aesthetic and aversion to all things dark and creepy? The point is to dig up all of that inner angst, we all thought we repressed in our teenage years, and apply it to the issues prevalent within wildlife conservation. Right now, in the world of conservation we need the kind of attention and emotional shock that only the melodrama of angst can demand. And if my work does anything, it strives to provide that melodrama.


The number of endangered species in the world today is, to put it mildly, overwhelming and a bit distressing. Suddenly all of these species start to become less the creatures we love and admire and more just another number in a rapidly increasing statistic. And, let me tell you, it is not easy to empathize with a numerical digit (though I came close once with the number nine).


One of the many amazing things about art is its effective and universal ability to instantly communicate many things, namely and most easily, emotion. The first thing that registers when we see a work of art is our feelings towards it and we cannot help but associate that emotion with the imagery we see in the work. So, when we see a painting of a crying, blue lion marked by signs of poaching, we are likely to empathize with those feelings of sadness and thus associate the poaching of said lion with a general feeling of sadness. The lion is no longer represented in our minds by just a number, but now has a face, a character, a tangible representation. This ability to evoke and create emotion can be a powerful tool in motivating people into action.


In laymen's terms, we see a sad painting, we empathize, we save the lions.


Well, maybe not quite so simple, but getting people to feel strongly about an issue is the start of encouraging change. And so, ipso facto, I use my art to make people feel *gasp*. Cruel and unusual, I know, but I'm twisted like that ;)



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