Author Archives: TVHerrewege

Unsung animals of the world

 

Unsung animals of the world

New drawings by Tom Van Herrewege

This new series of drawings are a body of work that I have wanted to make for some time now. It is a collection of artworks that are highlighting, and also introducing, certain species of animal that most people would not know that they even existed.

They are the unfamiliar species that are often overlooked by people, the ones that are not really focussed on in our different cultures across the world. To me. They are equally as fascinating in their evolution as the better-known species, and just like these more familiar animals, some of these species are also threatened with extinction by human activity.

This body of work has been made to focus on and celebrate these creatures, the unsung animals of the world.

It is to raise awareness of them and to encourage people to research them further. The names of these animals are all genuine and accurately researched, although many animals are known by a few different names. I am interested in why certain species are given particular names and trying to translate and make sense of these.

Developing this new series of work has been a rewarding exercise in doing two of my favourite things- researching and learning about strange animals and drawing.

Stylistically, I have made these drawings to visually reference the illustrations and diagrams you would find in old wildlife field guides, that I still obsessed with flicking through.

 

The Lion, 2023. Charcoal, chalk and gesso on canvas. 170 x 200 cm.

 

 

The Lion, 2023. Charcoal, chalk and gesso on canvas. 170 x 200 cm.

This piece focuses on Panthera leo, the Lion, the apex predator, and the subject of thousands of years of human fascination. It has been feared, worshipped, and also hunted since our time began.

The main image is a young male Lion I photographed in South Africa years ago. He was cautious to our presence on a safari drive, everything other than the typical idea of the dominant male Lion striding towards the camera.

Surrounding the main image are twelve different drawings of artefacts, sculptures, toys, and other Lion focused objects of the subject animal from throughout history, all across the world.

I am highlighting the way this animal is and was understood in these different cultures, how it is seen and visually interpreted by people from different civilisations, worlds apart from one another.

 

Leopard study, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on cartridge paper. Framed in Lime waxed ash. 32 x 24 x 3.5 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

Croc study, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on cartridge paper. Framed in ash. 32 x 26 x 4 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

Bear with Tlingit mask, 2021. Charcoal on cartridge paper. Framed in varnished obeche. 30 x 40 x 4 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

Crocodile in motion study, 2021. Charcoal and chalk o n cartridge paper. Framed in varnished obeche. 40 x 30 x 4 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

Cave Bear, 2021. Charcoal and gesso on cartridge paper. Framed in varnished obeche. 30 x 40 x 4 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Black Rhinoceros, 2021. Charcoal and gesso on cartridge paper. Framed in varnished obeche. 30 x 40 x 4 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Gorilla, 2021. Charcoal, chalk, gesso and matt emulsion on canvas. 4 x 3 metres.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

Roost, 2021. Charcoal, gesso and chalk on canvas. 120 x 160 cm

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Leopard, 2021. Charcoal, chalk and gesso on canvas. 150 x 200 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Gorilla, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on canvas. Framed in lime waxed tulip. 95 x 80 x 6 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Flying Fox 2021. Charcoal and chalk on primed canvas. 71 x 61 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

ANTHRO ZOOLOGY.

ANTHRO ZOOLOGY. New drawings by Tom Van Herrewege

Exhibited at Leicester Contemporary. LE1 6DP.

August 18th – September 11th 2021.

Anthrozoology

noun

  1. the interdisciplinary study of the interaction between humans and other animals.

 

Tom Van Herrewege’s work is inspired by a curiosity and awe of the evolutionary diversity of the animal kingdom, and how mankind has interpreted this around the world throughout history and today.

He is interested in how animals have evolved into what they are and the incredible variety across this spectrum. Yet it is also how animals exist in the human imagination, and the consequential impact that this has on the natural world.

It is how we understand them, categorize them, create ideas around them, worship and demonize them, utilize them, and the many other ways that humanity makes sense out of animals that is at the centre of his ideas.

In these new charcoal drawings, he has created realist depictions of various species in wild landscapes that are decisively rendered to describe the physicality and the behaviour of these creatures. The use of charcoal and chalk to create atmosphere is gestural, with hand stencils and playful mark making that allude to prehistoric cave art and the first depictions of animals.

Overlaid across the initial images, he has added delicate chalk line drawings across the surface of each piece, which describe how we are familiar with these animals. These softer line drawings are provoking for the viewer to consider the ever-increasing extinction crisis and the effects of humanity, yet they also celebrate the powerful charisma of certain species and how this has been embraced in folklore, cartoons, art, and cinema.

The artist’s intentions are to make the viewer pause and reflect on why we look at animals in the way we do, and to celebrate the strange and fascinating ways that one animal (us), perceives another. But it is to also make us consider the impact of this, and humanity’s place within the natural world.

The Nile Crocodile, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on primed canvas. 71 x 61 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Indian Rhinoceros, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on primed canvas. 61 x 71 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Northern White Rhinoceros, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on primed canvas. 61 x 71 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Nile Crocodile, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on primed canvas. 160 x 140 cm. Framed in lime waxed tulip.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Hippopotamus, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on primed canvas. 160 x 140 cm. Framed in lime waxed tulip.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Grizzly Bear, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on canvas. 87 x 72 cm. Framed in lime waxed tulip.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Grizzly Bear, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on canvas. 71 x 61 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.

The Hippopotamus, 2021. Charcoal and chalk on primed canvas. 71 x 61 cm.

With these artworks I begin creating an initial image of an animal and try to capture a true to life realism of the particular species rendered in charcoal. When I am happy with the initial drawing I then begin layering fine line drawings in chalk over the top that show how the animal is understood by humanity and also how humanity effects the animal. The  layering of imagery across the surface functions like a screen that we are seeing the animal through, revealing how it is loved, feared, worshiped and also demonized by mankind. This imagery shows the ecological challenges that these species face and that require our attention in order to avoid their extinction.