“The birds are the underdogs,” says Stephanie Brown. “They co-exist with us virtually invisibly in our lives when you aren’t searching for them. They’re small however stuffed with angle and highly effective in nice numbers.”
Brown returns to the tiny, but commanding creatures in her ongoing collection, The Torchbearers. Comprised of effectively over 100 tattoos in full shade, the gathering options frequent species like sparrows and starlings greedy lit matches of their beaks. The Troy, New York-based artist, whose follow spans drawing, portray, and the inked items proven right here, started the collection in 2019 after a few yr of finding out and rendering the specimens inside the Area Museum’s Bird Division. She explains:
Spending time in that assortment helped me perceive their position not simply as scientific artifacts however how these preserved our bodies may also help modern scientists of their research, usually within the effort of conserving what populations are left. Wanting again it feels quaint, however in 2019 it felt just like the local weather disaster had reached most quantity, with the most popular years on report on the time. Across the identical time, I had discovered an outdated Victorian Christmas card of those sparrows marching in a procession by the snow, holding tiny torches at the hours of darkness evening, a picture I instantly cherished and needed to adapt right into a tattoo.
Melding these sources sparked what’s now a sturdy aviary that’s each an ode to the wonder and singularity of every creature and a beacon of hope. “There are such a lot of analogies to be made,” the artist says. “The smallest mild can cleared the path within the darkness. It solely takes a spark to begin a fireplace; measurement doesn’t matter. Pure wildfires also have a regenerative goal: to clear crowded brush and return vitamins to the earth solely to have extra biodiversity return its wake.”
Whereas tattoos naturally fade and lose element over time, Brown’s work are exemplary of her profound consideration of the animals themselves. With luminous shade and delicately fringed feathers, the birds in “Within the Darkish” and “Chimney Swift” are elegant and lively, main the cost towards one thing new. These options echo the inked Torchbearers. The works are “an emblem of perseverance for the sheer willpower it takes to outlive on this world both personally, socially, or environmentally—a reminder to be vigilant towards the programs that exist and possibly simply holding hope for a cleaning fireplace to free us from them and make room for a greater world.”
Whereas Brown is essentially booked for tattoos for the time being—regulate her Instagram for openings—she does have originals, prints, stickers, and extra accessible in her shop. You may also see her work later this yr at Antler Gallery in Portland and Dwelling Room Gallery in Chicago.
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