Thursday, July 16, 2015

Giant Insects in PDX!

"Woman and Child"
I'm terribly tardy in posting about this, but I it's not every day that one has an art show up at Paxton Gate, so I should probably tell you about it. 

When I was living in San Francisco eight years ago Paxton Gate was my favorite store to visit. On a rare sunny day I'd travel by myself to the Mission, and between lazing at Dolores Park and getting toasted banana ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery, I'd wander into Paxton Gate and marvel at their collection. Taxidermied animals littered the walls while the rest of the store was stuffed to the gills with gems, minerals, skeletons, insects and arachnids in frames, and mammalian glass eye replicas in large glass cases. It was a store that held so much of what I loved as a child, but had inexplicably forgotten. It inspired stories of mystery and wonder. 

Needless to say, I was excited when one opened in Portland in 2010. Located on N. Mississippi Ave. Paxton Gate PDX brings the spirit of the San Francisco location to the Pacific Northwest. I've been admiring their collection for years, so I was pretty excited when they agreed to show my work last month. Two summers ago I created several pieces that combined vintage cabinet cards and giant insects. I wanted to expand on this series, but wanted a venue first and Paxton Gate seemed like a great fit. Here's some information on the show:

Family Portraits is an ongoing series that questions humanity's place as the dominant species and explores the relationship between humans and animals by depicting what the world might look like if we were replaced, or lived alongside different creatures from the animal kingdom.
In this incarnation:  Through the lens of a portrait photographer at the end of the 19th century we are introduced to an alternate world where insects have grown to mammoth proportions and strange human/insect hybrids pose with poise. All pieces are painted with ink on wood panels and are based on authentic 19th century cabinet cards.
Unfortunately the show will only be up for a few more days (I think it comes down the 17th) but they'll be holding onto a couple of the pieces as well as some of the prints that are available for another month. All pieces will be featured on my website and prints will be made available through my Etsy store. For information on purchasing the original paintings please contact me at

I think it's important to note that all products at Paxton Gate are purchased through responsible sources and that taxidermied animals are vintage and bought through trade shows and estate sales. No animals are being specifically killed for taxidermy and sold at this store. I do have conflicting feelings about the fetishization of animals through taxidermy and animals used as decoration, but that is perhaps a topic for a different blog post. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the matter if you'd like to leave a comment.

 Here are some photos of the show