ARTIST’S STATEMENT
 
 
Since childhood, I have been passionate about animals. I create art not for the sake of the art, but for the sake of the animals.
My artwork is currently built upon a foundation of digital photography and traditional illustration. These techniques are frequently left to stand independently, but increasingly I combine and transform them into the unlimited possibilities provided by digital imaging. For illustrations I principally utilize charcoal and graphite, and I prefer black and white and sepia tones in my photographic and digital work.
 
 
 
I am compelled to use my artwork to teach people the importance of animals and our relationships with animals, specifically, and nature writ large. I look to answer such questions as: How and why have our beliefs about animals changed over time? How has imagery developed the values that reflect these beliefs, and how can we use art to affect those values for the future? I believe that iconography is important as it serves as a visual metaphor that has rich cultural meaning which can be both reflective of existing values and can communicate values that may precipitate change.
I have been influenced by numerous of professionals from the disciplines of art, science and philosophy. As well, my grandfather and mother were both extremely talented and successful artists in their own right and gave me a healthy respect for the complexities of art and design. My equestrian colleagues helped me to cultivate a reverence for animals, and an understanding that “nothing that is forced can ever be beautiful”. My wonderful - and most loving grandmother always encouraged my enthusiastic passion for animals- and anything else that I wanted in life! And finally, my amazing husband is an inspiration to me, everyday, and he provides unwavering encouragement and support in all of my endeavors. These are the people who have helped me to define and elucidate beauty in nature, art, and life.

I believe that the interdisciplinary nature of art is synergistic in style and process. In one sense, art incorporates work from other academic fields. This serves as a platform to pursue my interests in the sciences (ethology, psychology, anthrozoology, ecology), the humanities (design, history, philosophy, mythology, literature and creative writing), as well as business (specifically, consumer behavior and marketing) as sources of inspiration for my study of art. Second, I believe that interdisciplinary art is less inclined to rely on traditional artistic media. This is appealing to me because I do not subscribe to being yoked to a particular medium. To me, the best medium is the one that works to convey the message or feeling compelled by the subject- whether that is photography, illustration, design, painting, film, creative writing, or some combination of same.
     
With regard to animal/nature art, I agree with the wildlife artist Carl Brenders, that empathetic depictions of animals and nature evoke strong emotions and may sustain social change to "...affect the future of our planet. It may have only a small effect, but it is a contribution in a certain way to the conservation of our natural world..." Humans do not live in a vacuum. Complexity theory affords an understanding of human behavior as having over-arching and far-reaching effects throughout the environment. Species are webbed closely together within and between niches- a unity that calls for a deeper reflection of humanity and nature. I agree with Darwin’s determination that the differences between humans and other animals are not differences in kind, but of degree. Our role should not be one of “dominator”, but of steward.
It is my intention to create art that encourages a re-vitalized look at these deep-rooted, significant, concepts, as we face what imminently will be an environmental crisis.This environmental crisis has arisen from a progressive disconnect between humanity and nature, fueled, in part, by technological advancement(s) coupled with a growing market-based, consumerist mentality that has promoted a worldview of speed and profit, at the cost of resource exploitation. Global biodiversity is threatened by this tide of "pseudo progress", and we are now faced with the task of preserving the benefits of technology while reversing the trend of adverse environmental impact within a steadily diminishing opportunistic window. We have only recently begun to re-visit and substantively develop a philosophical and pragmatic understanding of the importance of being and acting as true stewards of nature. How does one help to develop, in someone else, what Schweizer has called a "reverence for life" to meet the environmental crisis of the modern era? How do we balance the need for species conservation while maintaining compassion for the welfare of individual animals? I believe that if we more stringently examine historical iconography to reveal and respond to the durable values communicated across generations throughout the world's cultures, we may begin to recognize common metaphors and meanings that relate our responsibility to the world in which we live. Perhaps today, as in the past, the transcendent value of nature may be communicated through the power of art, so that we may- as the Governor of California, Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has urged- "...make environmentalism sexy...", and "...mainstream our efforts and responsibilities..." in ways that are relevant to our time.

Clearly, environmental ethics and our responsibility to the natural world must be addressed promptly and globally. It is my hope that my work will serve as a small, but nonetheless important catalyst for illustrating, compelling and sustaining these concerns and efforts to effect even a small impact for change.
I pursue my artistic and scholarly work as both a journey that will allow me to learn, create and advance my capabilities, and ultimately deliver me to a destination of personal and professional vision that enables me to communicate an ever-more urgent understanding of humanities place and role in nature.
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 Sherry Loveless