california floristic province
RESEARCH & EXPEDITION
'Limuw | Santa Cruz Island' and 'Return,' my two largest drawings to date, grew from my fascination with the California Floristic Province, a region of incredibly high plant diversity. The CFP is the only global biodiversity hotspot found within the United States, extending from southeastern Oregon down through and including most of California and into Baja California, Mexico. In preparation for this body of work, I spent two months reading scientific texts and four days exploring and photographing Channel Islands National Park off the coast of southern California. 'Return' highlights the fascinating fire regime of chaparral, the CFP’s most widespread form of vegetation, drawing correlations between the phoenix-like rebirth of this plant community post-fire, the return of the Condor to California, and the possible reintroduction of grizzlies to the state. 'Limuw | Santa Cruz Island' focuses on the ecological narratives found on the largest island of the Channel Islands archipelago, treating the island as a microcosm of many of the larger ecological concepts found within the CFP.
Both 'Limuw | Santa Cruz Island' and 'Return' were included in my 2017 solo show Studies & Stories at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The pieces premiered in Portland, Oregon at a special Spotlight Exhibition at Antler Gallery, where they are now available for purchase. Catalogues detailing the species and narratives depicted in 'Limuw | Santa Cruz Island' can be purchased from my webstore here.
MAKING THE WORK
'Limuw | Santa Cruz Island' was sketched during my month long Artist Residency at Caldera in Sisters, Oregon. This residency was made possible by the Ford Family Foundation’s Golden Spot Award. Each of the over 60 species in the drawing were lightly sketched on their own individual piece of tracing paper. I delicately cut out each of these sketches, so that I had over sixty small pieces of tracing paper shaped like flowers, foxes, birds and fish. Each piece was carefully labeled with the species' Latin and common name so I wouldn't forget what they were. I rolled a giant piece of tracing paper out onto the wall of my studio as my background. Then I taped all the species pieces up onto the tracing paper background and moved them about until they were roughly where I wanted them to appear in the final drawing, creating a giant species collage. I rolled a second giant piece of tracing paper across the wall, over top of all of the taped up pieces, so I could still see the collage underneath. Then I sketched out the drawing in its entirety, finessing the places where species overlapped, finalizing the poses of each of the plants and animals, and adding in background elements. I photographed this sketch and transferred it to my final drawing surface using a grid system.