Toy with Animals
Toy with Animals is an installation that took place in an empty storefront in downtown Ames, IA, for the month of April, 2018. The installation grapples with the reduction of animals to toys. As children play with toys that reference animals, they learn to feel empathy for another species without harming animals with actual contact, yet they also displace the animals’ actual context, habitat, agency, and behaviors. Toys reduce animals to a couple key aesthetic features, and toys then act as devices for the fictitious narratives that we spin up. Child’s play forms perceptions and misconceptions about animals and their natural contexts that is carried through into adulthood. To toy with something means to manipulate or handle it and its contexts. It is troubling that as adults, animals are still often treated as toys—put where we want, organized, admired when we are in the mood, ignored when we are fixated on something else, and tossed out when we outgrow them.
2017 Steele County Free Fair Sign
Each year the Steele County Free Fair erects a mural sized sign on to the grandstand to celebrate and advertise that next year's fair. I have been lucky to do the mural for four years in row. This mural is my most recent (completed in summer of 2016), and this slide shows some pictures of it after completion and in my studio space (AKA - my garage).