February 14, 2008
I spent the last three days at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Jay Ryan, Mat Daly, and I were invited by Heather White (a grad student in the printmaking program) to make prints using their facilities with the students. Jay and Mat made screenprints. I wiggled my way out of that and into the etching lab. Since I don't have my own intaglio press, I rarely get the chance to make an etching. When the opportunity arises, I jump on it. I have an Masters of Fine Art in printmaking, specifically in intaglio, and worked for almost five years as a printer for a Chicago artist.
This is a new 2 color copper plate etching. Up in the corner is a domestic pigeon that has been selectively bred to have exaggerated amounts of feathers covering its feet: a hungarian house pigeon. I was thinking about the history we create with certain groups of animals. The Dodo is in the family columbidae, as are all other pigeons and doves. The Dodo was perhaps one of the first species in which their demise was recorded as being directly attributable to humans. Sailors coming to Mauritius found them tragically easy prey. Rock doves, on the other hand, are a species that is remarkably ubiquitous and has thrived in our man made habitats. It is also a species that has been manipulated and selectively bred to create myriad, domestic breeds: fantails, pouters, frillbacks, etc. Charles Darwin dabbled in pigeon breeding, and it is still very popular today.