Art Center South Florida Residency
For two months I had the privilege of a residency in Miami at the Art Center South Florida. During this time I took a lot of photographs inspired by the tropical fruits at the Kampong. Since this was a new place and new subject matter, I took the opportunity to explore new art media. I developed a method to apply metallic pigments to aluminum panel and used the photography from the Kampong to create photo transfers on the panels. Then I finished the panels with a ultraviolet blocking spray so they can be enjoyed without glass. The subtle sparkle of the pigments under the images makes them appear to glow from within and cannot be fully appreciated in a reproduction. The Kampong garden, which is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden was the home and living laboratory of Dr. David Fairchild. Dr Fairchild served as the head of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction at the USA department of agriculture. He introduced some 30,000 varieties of plants to the USA and is responsible for the introduction of many of the tropical foods in the American agriculture and diet. Today his former home is a living laboratory and educational center where food bearing, medicinal and ornamental tropical plants from around the world are grown and studied. They have plants rarely seen in the USA including a gigantic Banyon tree the size of an apartment building.
Bees & Beekeeping
Closely related to my interest in organic urban agriculture, my interest in bees. I am fascinated by bees because of the ways that they communicate by dancing, coordinate their behavior, the environmental niche they fulfill in pollination, and their ability to make honey. I am also very concerned about their survival. My fascination and concern has compelled me to create bee themed artworks to share my fascination and raise awareness. To create these works I used copper and gold pigments on aluminum panel, and then applied photo transfers. This creates a glow from within and makes the honey appear to sparkle.
Have you heard about the plight of bees, butterflies and other pollinators criticial to the sustainability of our food system? The rusty patch bumble bee was recently listed on the endangered species list. I read that on average bee populations are declining by 30% per year in the USA! In Italy, they banned pollinator killing pesticides and the annual population decline dropped from 40% to 12% in the first year after the ban. Friends of the Earth is working hard to educate the American public and get these toxic pesticides off the shelves in the USA. They have already convinced 3/4 of garden retailers to stop selling the pesticides, and now they are going after the grocery industry to advocate for sale of organic and pollinator friendly conventional produce. You can learn more about the Friends of the Earth Bee Campaign and get involved in saving bees by clicking here.