Aly’s Featured Artist Statement

Aly has been working hard on her featured artist appearance at Ampersand AK for October’s First Friday at the end of the week (see Aly Solos at October First Friday). She has her artwork mounted, a new set of stickers shipped this morning, and should arrive in time (based on her last order, anyway). And, she wrote her artist’s statement, which sums things up nicely:

Sarah A. Zeiger's Kells-style T-Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex, Kells-style (Artwork: Sarah A. Zeiger).

“Wouldn’t it be cool if…”

It seems to me that most projects, art and otherwise, start with these words. It’s certainly how this project began.

I have always loved dinosaurs, and spent long hours as a child learning about them and migrating my toy dinosaurs up and down the hallway. I never could be pleased with the drawings I made of them, though. I couldn’t capture the realism of scientific drawings, and therefore fell far short of my idea of what a dinosaur picture “should be”.

I lived through the transition to feathered dinosaurs, which I still have mixed feelings about. When I was little, they were pebbly-skinned reptiles with warm blood like the ones seen in the Jurassic Park movies. Now they are shown much more like birds, which works for some species but not, in my mind, for others. Our ideas about what these creatures looked like are constantly evolving.

College brought me into contact with the illuminated manuscripts of Irish monks. I loved seeing the knotwork designs I knit into hats used to express animals both real and fantastic. They focused on catching the idea of a creature and threw realism out the window, something I still have trouble doing myself.

Both these events shook my notions of what a dinosaur “should” look like. So I did my best to throw realism out the window and made dinosaurs that try to capture each species’s unique traits, but don’t concern themselves with physics or proportion.

Sarah A. Zeiger's Kells-style Plesiosaur

Aly’s plesiosaur (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger).

We’re so proud of all of this! I decided to become a paleontologist at the age of 4 (a little bit before discovering women, which blew the whole dinosaur-hunter ambition out of the water) so her interest in prehistoric animals makes me feel great. Her project extends our enthusiasm into her adult life wonderfully.

If you’re in Haines this Friday, be sure to stop by and see her at Ampersand AK!

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