by Jules Buck Jones
My work deals with animals. The depiction of animals through drawing and lore is as ancient as the imagination. The impressions and ideas they provoke range from symbolism to science. I make large scale, 2-dimensioal drawings, sometimes bizarre and fantastic, other times simple and subtle. All of this stems from a long interest in the natural sciences. The work grows from thoughts and research on biological and ecological concerns as well as along narrative and mythical dimensions.
I depict my animals in various ways. I use techniques inspired by the clear careful illustrations of field guides, through a range of expressive and abstract artists. A lot of my work bumps representation up against its limits. Abstraction comes into play in many ways. At times an animal, drawn in larger than life scale will melt away into aggressive strokes of color and marks, robbing the animal of its form. Other times I assemble animals into geometric formations, or I’ll attempt to merge scientific diagrams with the myths that precede them.
My work is very much about drawing itself. The line plays a crucial role in the development of my subject matter. I draw with a quick, gestural, playful delivery, which I believe gives the subject a liveliness that often eludes a slower, more meticulous, depiction. I use a variety of media from all sorts of drawing tools, such as graphite, charcoal, and wax, to different water-based pigments as inks, acrylic, watercolor, and gouache. I team lines with washes to build or negate my subjects. I strictly work on paper, preferably larger than a person. To me, drawing has more of a romantic relationship to paper than to other surfaces, like wood or canvas. The paper allows my pencils to glide when they move and embraces my washes in some symbiotic manner. The grand scale creates a 1 to 1 ratio between work and viewer. Conceptually I think this is interesting and intrinsic to the dialogue between man and nature. The scale is also conducive to the loose descriptions and allows a greater arena to suggest the infinite details nature provides.
I revel in the idea of continuing the long inscription of drawing, painting, sculpting and believing in animals. I draw inspiration from prehistoric cave paintings, totemic symbols, the great artist/naturalists like Seba, Haeckel, Audobon, and a contemporary art world increasingly more aware and intrigued with issues of the natural world. Fact and fiction, past, present and the future, all play a role in my work. I aim to express and conjure the flesh and magic of evolution, classification, environment, bio-diversity, mutation, and extinction.