Artist, Bordalo II, honors the endangered “Red Squirrel” in Dublin, Ireland

IMG_1633When I sold advertising, I was always canvassing the San Francisco Bay Area for “prospects” to call on. If I was not scanning through magazines for new advertisers, I was in my car sitting in traffic writing down “potential advertiser names” from trucks that would go by (flooring, landscaping, security systems, Google delivery, and more). You’d be amazed at how many potential advertisers you can find just sitting at a traffic light. Finally, I NEVER forgot to look at “billboards.”

Once something is taught, it stays with us. Even now, years later, I STILL find myself looking at advertising. I enjoy a great ad.

You can imagine my wonderment, here in Dublin, when I looked up to see a billboard of a HUGE Squirrel! Clearly, this was made out of trash from the junk yard. What kind of advertisement was this?

Here is a close up of the squirrel, so you can appreciate the details. Look at the squirrel’s fingers, his whiskers, his legs and tail that match in fuzziness, and the detail in his eye. BUT what is he carrying or trying to eat? I can’t figure that out.

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My next thought was… WHO created this? Google to the rescue.

Artur Bordalo (aka, Bordalo II) is an environmental art sculpturist/street artist from Lisbon. He uses paint and trash (chicken wire, tires, appliances, car parts, toys, plastics and more) to create his 3-D masterpieces. Through his art, he wants to bring awareness to waste, how it’s causing pollution and harm to our planet and the animals he creates.

For sure, we are noticing Bordalo’s street art, it is on such a grand scale. I “hope” that we go beyond just “smiling” though and actually do something to help the environment.

IS ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH HIS WORK?

FOUNDATION? – I could not find anything indicating that he has a Foundation where we could support his global environmental mission. His art is still new, maybe a Foundation will come in the future. If you know of anything, please share with us.

View more of Bordalo’s work on Facebook. His sculptures are around the world, i.e. a rat in Paris, a snow leopard in Russian, a turtle in Canada, a frog in Italy… it’s endless. Each one spectacular!

Inspiration: How can I soar with eagles when I am flying with buzzards?

Eagle EyesI’ve always been fascinated by eagles. It started when my father got frustrated with his four kids for working too slow or not thinking fast enough on the building site. He would shake his head and say, “How can I soar with eagles, when I am flying with buzzards!”

I always chuckled in my mind when he said that. I would immediately envision those sad looking vultures toward the end of the animated movie, “The Jungle Book” and think, “What… vultures… I’m not a vulture!”

If you’ve never seen the animated Jungle Book movie, watch this clip on YouTube, uploaded by Thomas Ferrin, “vultures on jungle book.”  You’ll have a better understanding on why you wouldn’t want to be a vulture. They have no “joie de vivre!”

Like the photo of the vultures I have, that’s how they look… but it’s important for you to see how they talk and act. They have no energy, no purpose, no goals.

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Then I would think, “NO WAY, I am an eagle!”

This phrase has stayed with me all my life. It’s a tape recording in my mind for those times that I find myself challenged for whatever reason. When I need to draw strength, because I feel there is “no hope,” I remember those words and somehow I stand taller, I take the buzzard out of my mind and I focus on the photo of the eagle above. I draw from his “no nonsense” character, the “determination” in his eyes, and remember, “I do have goals!”

I AM STRONG!

I WILL SOAR!

My Dad will be PROUD!

 

 

 

African animals come to life in “Beast,” by John Banovich

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© John Banovich, Giants of Kilimanjaro, 2016, oil on belgian linen, 24 x 24 in.                        Limited Edition Giclee on Canvas.

My father loves Africa, he has been there over 35 times. He was especially fascinated by elephants, lions and leopards. I believe they gave him strength to persevere, fight and drive himself to success. He is a self made man, ferocious reader and watches many documentaries. In fact, as we were growing up, he’d call us in to watch, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” with Marlin Perkins. This show studied wild animals in their natural habitats, we learned the importance of conservation from Perkins’s stories.

Fast forward 35+ years and conservation efforts are stronger than ever. Years ago, my father and I came across an artist out of Montana named, “John Banovich.” We were immediately mesmerized by his larger than life paintings of African animals. Clearly, Banovich had the same passion for African animals as my father had with the ability to bring them to life. For example, take a look at this elephant painting by Banovich. It’s incredible, we can see the precision with which Banovich paints the wrinkles on the elephant’s skin, brings fierceness to his eyes, the tusks perfectly positioned with just the right color. What amazed my father and I was the “feeling” that we were facing the elephant “head on, eye to eye,” like a fight scene. He gives life to all of his paintings in this way. They are very powerful!

Banovich’s love of animals/nature runs deep. In 2007, he started the Banovich Wildscapes Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to conserve wildlife, wild places and the people who live there. Right now, he supports twelve projects in seven countries with a portion of artwork sales going to the Foundation. A few projects are saving lions in Africa, Siberian tigers in Russia Far East and brown bears in North America. On his Foundation’s website you can read specific information on each project.

In 2009, he published the book, “Beast.” This banovich-book-beastbook shares his life story and collection of paintings. It’s a beautiful book, one that should be put on a coffee table and shared with others.

Visit Banovich’s Facebook page for the latest news on his projects and events. His next event is in South Carolina. If you’d like to learn more about his work, this is your chance to meet him in person AND to support wildlife conservation!

NEXT EVENT

THE ART OF CONSERVATION
Plantation Grille, Brays Island Plantation, SC
Guest Speaker: John Banovich, Artist/Conservationist
March 13, 2017, 3:30-5:00pm

Coyote versus the Fox

imageMy brother took this photo of a coyote in his backyard. Beautiful picture!

When I saw the photo, it made me think of a few children’s stories, i.e Little Red Riding Hood, Aesop’s Fables: The Fox and the Grapes and Pinocchio. However, I realized those stories use a “fox” as a character and not a “coyote,” but I thought how similar these animals look. So, I found a photo of a fox to compare to the coyote, you can see as well.

I am in the process of writing a children’s book and it seems that the animals most used are mice, bears, foxes and frogs.. not a coyote very often and if it is used it seems to be in a story related to the Southwest. Although, now the coyote has ventured to normal neighborhoods like our small town in Indiana.

imageAs the Universe would have it, I was reading the WSJ the other day and there was an article about coyotes by David Roberts called, “The Original Bolshevik.” It did not paint a pretty picture of the coyote. I enjoyed the article as it gave a little history lesson on who the coyote is and where he has come today.

I smiled when Roberts said in the past, the settlers would “fear” the howl, whine and chatter of the coyote and now when we hear the howling on a camping trip, we are not afraid, but more interested in catching a glimpse of this animal with the vision of the moon behind him, which is the picture etched in our minds. I guess it would be like catching a glimpse of a bat or a vampire… we want to see “what they are up to” in the dark of the night, from a distance, of course, so we can write about it!

In my Google search I read that coyotes/foxes do not normally hurt or eat humans, but they have been venturing toward neighborhoods in search of food. Many people leave cat/dog food out and they like it. They also eat squirrels, rabbits, mice, rats, insects, fish, frogs, berries and different fruits.

The howling is a group exercise I read and a form of communication between them, but nothing more and they are sneaky and smart with a keen sense of smell. I think this is why we find them intriguing, we just don’t know what they are “up to.”

For example, when I lived in Chicago the media was in uproar when a “coyote” walked into a Quizno’s sandwich shop during the day and went to lie down in the cooler where they had the cold drinks. That caught everyone by surprise.

I told you… they are sneaky!