The main theme of my work is New England. Specifically, this theme has manifested itself as the natural aspects of New England, since this is the aspect of New England that I am most interested in. The goal with my work is to celebrate the natural beauty of the landscape that I see every day so that I don’t take it for granted. I want somebody who has never been to New England to see my pieces and think “I want to go there”. I think every location on earth has something to offer and I want to expose what New England has to offer.
From a very young age, I became interested in the natural world, especially birds. This interest allowed me to see the natural world more clearly than others, and consequently this gave me an appreciation for detail (such as the feathers of a bird or the leaves of a tree). This focus on detail gave me a very unique artistic style which I developed over the course of my junior and senior year.
The experience of living in New England my whole life (first in New Hampshire, then in Vermont) definitely shaped my work (especially the decision to make my work about New England in the first place). The experience of going to the Pember (a museum near my house) inspired me to create my first piece of a fox chasing a pheasant. My many experiences at Emerald Lake in Dorset were part of what inspired me to create my ceramic piece. The road to my bus stop every day goes past a place which looks very much like the foreground of my linoleum print. The list goes on and on. In terms of artists that have influenced my work, the only one who has had a substantial impact is Graham Sutherland. Graham Sutherland captured the landscape around him in Britain mainly through paintings and printmaking (his printmaking techniques especially inspired me).
My most ambitious piece is a large charcoal piece which depicts a factory somewhere in New England which has been shut down. As a result of this, people start leaving the factory and go towards other towns to look for jobs. In the foreground, several iconic New England species (barred owl, common polypody, luna moth) are depicted. I believe that this piece is far more sophisticated than my other pieces. For example, this is the only piece where I decided to focus on a human-created aspect of the New England landscape rather than a natural aspect. In this way, I challenged myself as I moved beyond something that I am comfortable with. In addition, this piece has far more meaning and symbolism than my previous pieces. My first piece was a watercolor piece that depicted a gray fox chasing a ring-necked pheasant that contained little to no symbolism. My linoleum print had many iconic symbols of Vermont, such as the maple leaf, hermit thrush, and Green Mountains, but beyond this there wasn’t much meaning. By contrast, my charcoal piece contains much symbolism, such as the luna moth (which symbolizes rebirth) and the vulture (which symbolizes decay). I also purposely removed trees from one mountain to show the environmental impact of human activity.
For my final art show, I decided to arrange the pieces in order from least to most personal to me. My least personal piece was the charcoal piece, as it is focused on themes that are for the most part removed from my life. Next were my acrylic piece, fox and pheasant piece, and ceramic piece. Then I had my snow bunting and fox pieces, both of which were depictions of things I actually witnessed, making them very personal. And finally, my most personal piece was the burning of the Mettawee River, with the many types of animals that live there. This river passes by my house, and both schools that I went to, and has been an essential part of my upbringing as a New Englander and who I am as a person. It is my hope that people who see my art can also appreciate the beauty that I have seen in this region of the world.