The last wolf of Scotland blog post
In tribute to the British wolf, persecuted and hunted to extinction by 1680.
“It has been said that the last wild wolf living in Britain was shot dead by Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochielin in 1680, near the village of Killiecrankie in the Scottish Highlands”.
The idea for ‘The last wolf of Scotland’ came from my realisation that I had become bored of drawing twee countryside imagery just for commercial reasons, and wanted to go back to creating art that was more true to myself, with a deeper meaning. Because of this reason I began making imagery that was much more experimental, and I started looking back at the punk rock protest art I was making back in my early 20s.
However in doing this, even though I was feeling much more fulfilled creating the art I wanted to do rather than just producing work to try and appeal to a buyer – I later realised that actually my most favourite drawing and possibly my most successful image in recent years was ‘The silver hare‘. Even though it was a picture that fit in the commercial art category I’d decided to move away from, it appealed to me more than the other animal illustrations I’d done because it seemed to have a vintage and darker gothic aesthetic in it’s character and a striking stylised appearance which most of the others didn’t have. I think this may have been because it was quite heavily influenced by Victorian engravings and mezzotints, which often had quite a gothic feel about them. In realising the popular appeal of this image and the fact that I also really liked it, I discovered that I had found a style that not only had commercial appeal, but it was also a style I personally really liked. So I’ve decided to create more creatures in this form.
As I mentioned before, I want to not only make images I like for their aesthetic, but I also wish to create something with deeper meaning or convey an important message, a bit like the political statement art I use to paint on my punk jackets, but maybe not so overtly obvious, more like a hidden meaning to explore.
I’ve always felt angry and guilty that as a species, we humans either intentionally or unintentionally ruin the earth for all other species on the planet. And considering my subject matter is wildlife, I want to somehow subtlety incorporate this feeling I have into my art. So I have decided to create a series of black and white side profile animals, depicting extinct British wildlife to create awareness about what has and still is happening in terms of specie loss and biodiversity loss.
The British brown bear is my next project.