Throughout my journey as an artist, there has always been an underlying theme - birds. It was not until I made the connection with my granddad, Bryon Walker, that my theme changed to include a visualization of conservation. In his retirement, after 45 years of working for the State of Kansas Forest Service, he carved over 400 life size water fowl decoys from the wood he would gather from the wildlife preserve. For his conservation efforts and public education, the wildlife preserve has honored his name since 1987. Because of my granddad’s devotion to conservation, I was inspired to continue in the same direction with my own art, whittling away at linoleum blocks, continuing to bring awareness to the need for conversation of vanishing species.
This current body of work communicates, through the printmaking techniques of reductive linocut and monoprint, the concept of diminishing populations of birds. Working the linoleum block in a reductive method, the block is reduced and carved away a little at a time to create the next layer of printed color. The challenge in working in this method lies in the use of only one block, rather than a separate block for each color, the matrix is destroyed, diminished, to create each consecutive color. It is impossible to correct mistakes. The reductive process is a metaphor for when a species goes extinct; it is hard to go back.
My prints give a voice to the endangered, threatened, and protected bird species of the Rocky Mountains. With this series; I create a visual record of bird species and their existence in the wild. If current conservation of these species fails, the only place to view these birds will be in man-made environments, like zoos. This series has been created to educate and enlighten the public about the many bird species disappearing from their natural environments.