So what’s the deal with all these animals? They seem noble and virtuous.
I actually saw a rabbit on my drive home tonight, darting across the dark roads of South Knoxville. It made me think about why I draw these pictures and I believe that it has a lot to do with the familiarity of the animal itself. These are all animals to which we can relate a personal, firsthand account and memory. Each of these animals has the ability to evoke a personal recollection, therefore making it intimate and exclusive to each of us.
So these are animals that mean a lot to you, because they’re local?
Well, I don’t see elephants or giraffes in my daily life.
Your illustrations are drawn from Dover catalogs and inspired by the Audubon Society, yet you give the subjects something more personal than just as an anthropological study. Where does that come from?
I take something as seemingly mundane as hares, and use the white pencil to illuminate them on coffee- and tea-dyed paper, isolating them from any background. It really removes them from nature, turns them into a study, but the medium makes it more personal.
Why are they so detailed and lifelike, rather than impressionistic?
I like the challenge. You have to think about your picture more. I’m entering a new stage, a drawing style where I just spend a little more time on tedious detail, an exercise of self-control. Part of the reason I like these so much is because they are so tedious.
How long does it take to make each drawing?
Anywhere ranging from one to three hours. I keep them small in scale so I can work on them wherever I go, like the doctor’s office or the post office.
(Holly Briggs’ animal prints will be seen for the next five weeks on page six. And you won’t see elephants or giraffes.)