August 28, 2023
“The birds are the underdogs,” says Stephanie Brown. “They co-exist with us virtually invisibly in our lives in case you aren’t searching for them. They’re small however stuffed with perspective and highly effective in nice numbers.”
Brown returns to the tiny, but commanding creatures in her ongoing sequence, The Torchbearers. Comprised of nicely over 100 tattoos in full shade, the gathering options widespread species like sparrows and starlings greedy lit matches of their beaks. The Troy, New York-based artist, whose observe spans drawing, portray, and the inked items proven right here, started the sequence in 2019 after a few yr of learning and rendering the specimens throughout the Subject Museum’s Bird Division. She explains:
Spending time in that assortment helped me perceive their position not simply as scientific artifacts however how these preserved our bodies may help up to date scientists of their examine, typically within the effort of conserving what populations are left. Wanting again it feels quaint, however in 2019 it felt just like the local weather disaster had reached most quantity, with the most popular years on file on the time. Across the similar time, I had discovered an outdated Victorian Christmas card of those sparrows marching in a procession by way of the snow, holding tiny torches at midnight evening, a picture I instantly cherished and wished to adapt right into a tattoo.
Melding these sources sparked what’s now a sturdy aviary that’s each an ode to the wonder and singularity of every creature and a beacon of hope. “There are such a lot of analogies to be made,” the artist says. “The smallest gentle can cleared the path within the darkness. It solely takes a spark to start out a hearth; measurement doesn’t matter. Pure wildfires also have a regenerative goal: to clear crowded brush and return vitamins to the earth solely to have extra biodiversity return its wake.”
Whereas tattoos naturally fade and lose element over time, Brown’s work are exemplary of her profound consideration of the animals themselves. With luminous shade and delicately fringed feathers, the birds in “Within the Darkish” and “Chimney Swift” are elegant and energetic, main the cost towards one thing new. These options echo the inked Torchbearers. The works are “an emblem of perseverance for the sheer willpower it takes to outlive on this world both personally, socially, or environmentally—a reminder to be vigilant in opposition to the techniques that exist and perhaps simply holding hope for a cleaning fireplace to free us from them and make room for a greater world.”
Whereas Brown is essentially booked for tattoos for the time being—keep watch over her Instagram for openings—she does have originals, prints, stickers, and extra obtainable in her shop. You too can see her work later this yr at Antler Gallery in Portland and Residing Room Gallery in Chicago.
Do tales and artists like this matter to you? Turn out to be a Colossal Member immediately and assist impartial arts publishing for as little as $5 per thirty days. You will join with a neighborhood of like-minded readers who’re enthusiastic about up to date artwork, learn articles and newsletters ad-free, maintain our interview sequence, get reductions and early entry to our limited-edition print releases, and rather more. Be a part of now!